People living in and near Karachi should take care and be on high alert, as the weather and disaster predictions show high chances of a cyclone and subsequently a heat-wave to radiate through Southern Pakistan.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (Met) has issued a warning regarding the tropical cyclone, advising fishermen from Sindh against venturing into the open sea until Friday. The cyclone, called “Vayu” originates from Indian Gujrati coasts. It is predicted to hit Indian Gujrat coastal cities and has been called the equivalent of a “Category 2 Hurricane”.

Needless to say, wading into the waters during a cyclone storm can be extremely dangerous. If the cyclone is stronger, it can even lead to flooding of coastal homes and businesses. The Met has done well to warn people, particularly fishermen, to wade clear of the waters. While the cyclone is not predicted to cause any danger to Karachi, it is still better if our citizens take caution and are aware of the safety procedures in an emergency disaster.

Unfortunately, there is more bad news about the weather. The Met statement also further warned about a heat wave to arise in Karachi and surrounding areas in the aftermath of the cyclone. Due to the cyclone, sea breeze is likely to remain cut off between Thursday and Friday which can lead to heat wave-like conditions in coastal areas of Sindh.

More than the cyclone, a heat wave can be extremely detrimental to the lives of the people in coastal Sindh, particularly those below the poverty line who do not have access to resources to keep themselves cool in this unbearable heat. It is thus heartening that the Karachi administration this time took notice of the upcoming heat wave and is preparations to deal with it. An alert had been issued to all the departments concerned, including the deputy commissioners of Karachi. According to the Karachi administration, all deputy commissioners are taking steps to provide relief to people by activating heat-wave first response centres in their jurisdictions.

While it is reassuring that this time the Karachi administration is taking steps to mitigate the damage of a heat-wave, heat-wave response centres are not enough, considering the mass heatstroke-related deaths Sindh has suffered in past years. While heat-wave response centres should be activated and be of a good standard, the administration also ought to turn its attention towards certain classes of people more vulnerable to the harsh consequences of a heat wave and ensure that the situation does not get so bad in the first place that masses of people need to be treated for heatstroke.