KARACHI - A heatwave in Karachi and other districts of Sindh has killed at least 122 people, health officials said Sunday.

“Since Saturday 114 people have died in Karachi and eight others (have died) in three districts of Sindh,” provincial health secretary Saeed Mangnejo told AFP.

The port city saw temperatures reach as high as 45 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday, just short of an all-time high in the city of 47 C in June 1979.

“Over 50 people were brought dead and 15 died shortly after they reached the hospital,” Dr Seemin Jamali, the head of the emergency department at Jinnah Hospital, told AFP. “They all died of heat stroke,” she said. Officials said all the deaths had occurred since Saturday evening.

Meteorological Department said temperatures would likely subside in the coming days, but doctors have advised avoiding exposure to the sun and wearing light cotton clothes.

The high temperatures were made worse by frequent power outages, sparking protests in several parts of the city of 20 million.

Electricity cuts in turn crippled Karachi’s water supply system, hampering the pumping of millions of gallons of water to consumers, the state-run water utility said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has warned electric supply companies that he would not tolerate power outages during Ramazan, an official in Sharif’s office said.

Karachi University in a statement said that it had postponed its exams for at least one month due to the extreme weather.

The scorching heatwave has gripped Karachi since the start of Ramazan, badly affecting the routine life and health experts believe the number of deaths expected to rise.

The temperature was recorded at 42 degrees on the longest day of the year Sunday, compelling citizens to remain inside their homes. The deaths have been reported in different areas but, unfortunately, no official confirmed the death toll.

The number of patients with dehydration and low blood pressure were reported high both in public and private hospitals. Most of the deceased were old people. A few young patients were admitted in critical condition and later passed away during treatment.

Senior doctors said that most of people were brought dead in different hospitals while these deaths are most probably due to rising temperature. They said that the number of patients with sunstroke and dehydration has gone up in last two days.

They said the heatwave has altered the overall situation and over 1,500 patients have been brought to the hospitals within 24 hours. The number of old and already sick patients is very high. Most of hospitals, including Civil Hospital, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, JPMC and private hospitals experienced scores of patients with dehydration, low blood pressure, gastrointestinal issues and fever.

Besides 50 people died at the JPMC, 19 at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital while two labourers working in Keamari died due to heatstroke while two other workers died in Lyari area.

The doctors advised citizens to wear thin and cold clothes and avoid direct sun waves. People shouldn’t use stored and refrigerated food items and must switch on the fans and use hand-fan in case of power outages.

According to Edhi Foundation spokesperson Anwar Kazmi, around 150 bodies brought to Edhi Morgue located at Sohrab Goth between Saturday and Sunday. “The ratio has gone up in these two days. He believed that generally families can’t keep bodies for a longer time in these hot days. He said over 30 unknown bodies have been recovered from different parts of the city. “The reason of their deaths could be change in the weather,” he added. All unidentified bodies have been buried at Edhi’s graveyard in Mawach Goth.

Edhi Morgue in-charge Ghulam Hussain Soomro said that increasing ratio of bodies could be due to the hot weather.