Karachi: In the past one week, almost 1075 lives have been lost in Karachi due to a heat wave. It is said to be one of the worst calamitiesto hit Pakistan in the last ten years.To add to the misfortune, there has been no water or electricity in many city areas for the past many days. People reached hospitals in all sorts of transport and majority returned with the dead bodies of their loved ones. The city mortuaries are full and families are running from pillar to post to find a place to keep the remains of their loved ones in a cool place. The Federal and Sindh government are nowhere to be seen.And K Electric is least concerned about the plight of its bill paying consumers.

In between this horrific scenario the Pakistan Army stepped in and established Heat Wave Relief Camps making doctors, facilities and medical aid available to the beleaguered citizens of Karachi.Along with this many people are working with the Rangers in their camps and helping them out.

One of the volunteers said, “Things are so bad that it’s being hard to manage. The kafan and related items alone costRs8,000, where can a poor person manage that from? And the grave diggers are asking for anything from 5,000 to 50,000 on seeing the person who asks for a grave to be dug.”

He continued: “Where are the government and the elected representatives? When they want votes they are all out to spend money on advertisements and running campaigns; but now their when the voters are dying no one is there to help them. In the end it is always the army that steps in.”

Despite all their efforts it was not enough, Karachites came forward took charge to help. Starting from social media to door to door collection, to camps, and then reaching the victims they have come forward with tremendous zeal and saved many lives.

Social media has proven to be the medium to spread the word for help and donations. The Facebook Mera Karachi Group (MKG) started their online campaign and from there and spread out in the field. Vaqar, Sabiha Begh, Imran Ahmed (Founder of MKG), Sheema Ghani and many others from MKG have been working day and night to reach out to the people.

“MKG’s aim is to change the behavior of the people. We don’t do anything big rather we start from small things. This will make us more responsible citizens instead of always blaming the government,” Vaqar said.

“Karachi has been hit with a heat wave that was least expected and people were not prepared for it. No one is aware about climate change and no precautionary measures are being taken to prevent it in future,” he added.

“For the time being we are not taking money from people, instead we ask then for things that can be distributed. People have brought in Infusion kits, ORS, water bottles, towels and some medicines. Apart from this we are collecting kafanstoo,” Vaqarsaid when asked about donations and efforts.

Apart from these people in Karachi, Mona Kazim is working from the US.She is collecting donations from people in the States and sending it to the local ElajTrust. Mehdi, a social activist and student, told us that Elaj Trust is being run by activist JibranNasir and his colleagues. On the visit of the CM Sindhto Jinnah Hospital JibranNasir confronted him and questioned him on accountability of the budget, to which CM had no reply.

Elaj Trust has “adopted” ward 5 and 6 of Jinnah Hospital and the patients in these wards will be looked after throughoutRamadan.Eighteen standing type room ACs have been installed, medical facilities, water and ORS is available,and janitors hired to keep the wards clean.”

He told that a girl who had brought her unconscious mother to the hospital suffering from heat exhaustion, collapsed due to the oppressive heat while sponging he mother.

The resilience and sheer determination to stand up in the face of adversity which has long been the forte of the people of Pakistan is visible in the citizens of Karachi in this crisis.Conspicuous by its absence once again is the hand that should be leading the relief and rehabilitation effort, the seat of governance a mere 4 kilometers from the Jinnah Hospital from where emanates not encouragement and help, but an ominous silence.