Karachi - After shortage of space in hospitals due to heat wave that claimed lives of more than 600 people, rescue services are now being provided by private and political organisations to cater amounts of deaths.
Adding to that a massive shortage mortuaries and vehicles to transport bodies has also been witnessed.
Two main groups-Edhi and MQM- which has volunteered are also facing a massive shortage of space in their mortuaries. Some hospitals having mortuaries are not allowing relatives to keep bodies for more than an hour or two due to increased death toll.
“We have received over 600 bodies to be placed in our mortuary during last three days despite having a capacity of 150,” said an Edhi official at Sohrab Goth mortuary.
He said that they also had mobile mortuaries that had space of at most 30 bodies. “We are facing a massive influx of bodies and are unable to accommodate all of them,” he said.
Standing outside the mortuary at Sohrab Goth, Mohammad Ahsan who’s father died from the heat wave soon after he was returning from Zuhar prayers in North Karachi on Monday- said they never expected that their father could have died this way.
“He was returning after offering prayers when he fainted and then passed away,” he said adding that they took him to a private hospital first which refused to admit him and later to Jinnah Hospital where he pronounced dead on arrival.
“Now we had to pay a hefty amount for giving bath to the body and putting it at the morgue,” he said.
Meanwhile, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had also opened up its mortuaries and according to its spokesman they had received around 400 bodies during last three days in its mortuaries in North Karachi, Malir, Orangi Town, PIB Colony and Landhi.
“Our mortuaries are more than over crowded but we still are not refusing anyone and trying our best to accommodate everyone,” said Ameen-ul Haq.
Other than the mortuaries, coffin carrier service are also being searched in the metropolis.
Jamaat-i-Islami and Muttahida Qaumi Movement are two main service providers of coffin carrier buses in the city with JI having 17 buses and MQM having 15 while some other communities and religious organisations are also providing coffin carriers in the city.
JI Spokesman told The Nation that they were facing an extraordinary demand of coffin carriers as having a capacity of 17 buses, they had received a demand of more than 500 during last three days.
“We are accommodating people in alternate timings and are giving maximum three hours for a funeral so that other people could also be accommodated,” Zahid Ahmed said adding that they had been witnessing this situation for the first time with so much demand of the coffin carriers.
The MQM spokesman also said that sudden rise in death toll in the city had also created a shortage of coffin carrier buses in the metropolis and they had also provided all big and small ambulances for shifting bodies from mortuaries to the graveyards.
Ameen ul Haq also expressed regret over lack of participation from other parties of the federal and provincial government in rescue activities for the heat wave victims in the city.
“Karachi is the revenue hub of the country and provides more than 60 percent revenue to the federal government and 90 percent to the province, but its citizens who represents a mini Pakistan are being left on the mercy of heat wave,” he said adding MQM had setup heat stroke camps in the city and would provide relief activities free of cost to the people.
Meanwhile ambulances and private transport buses were also being used for shifting bodies to the graveyards.
The situation at the graveyards was also alarming people complaining that they had been asked for more than Rs 100000 for a grave. According to Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) records there are 63 registered graveyards in the city having a population of more than 20 million.
It also came into knowledge that due to a sudden rise in death toll in the city and heat wave, it is taking more than 18 to 24 hours to bury the bodies and the grave diggers are also charging from Rs 20,000 to at least Rs 100,000for a grave.
Talking to The Nation, Mohammad Tabish-who booked a grave for his relative at Shah Mohammad Graveyard in UP Mor- said that first the grave digger refused to provide space, however, on agreed for Rs 100000.
“I can’t believe that we are living in such a country where people can’t die and needed a hefty amount to rest in peace,” he said adding the graveyard administration that was overseen by the KMC officials was also involved in these activities.
Meanwhile, the Sindh government that had done nothing yet, however its department, Provincial Disaster Management Authority - that is funded with millions for overcoming a disaster- had issued a warning to the people asking them to avoid travelling on the roof top of buses.
The department had not yet setup any camp in the city for the relief activities but it had directed traffic police and motorway authorities to stop people from travelling on rooftops of buses.