As the searing heatwave persisted in the interior Sindh for the last few days, it brought a sharp increase in diarrhoea and sunstroke patients across the province. While weather reports remain grim according to the meteorological office forecast, doctors have expressed serious concern to protect children from exposure to the sun and their children's access to clean water, for its absence is causing gastroenteritis by the hundreds.

Pakistan is facing an imminent threat from climate change and is on its way to become one of the most water stressed countries in the world a few years down the road. Yet it is only in pressing times like these that a sense of this looming threat is acknowledged.

While there is no clear-cut solution to the issue we are facing with extreme weather, people can focus on some remedies to at an individual level. Recommendations to avoid sunstroke include wetting ones wrists from time to time to cool the main artery, not sitting in a switched of car, even with windows down and decreasing the time of strenuous activity.

Impacts such as proliferation of water-borne diseases as is documented every summer, seawater intrusion and salinisation of coastal areas of Sindh, eco-degradation of watersheds of the Indus and glacial decline, are all problems that Pakistan continues to battle and the apparent lack of political will to address these challenges head on is exacerbating the intensity of these issues.

A 2009 study by the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars concluded that more than two million people in the city of Peshawar drink contaminated water, at least 30,000 people die each year in Karachi alone, where the rivers contain lead, chromium, and cyanide, and Lahore’s groundwater was contained with more than the permissible amount of arsenic. The report concluded that due to lack of access to safe drinking water, nationwide, 630 Pakistani children die each day from diarrhea alone. These are alarming statistics and accountability must be promised to the people before we are on the verge of a public health disaster.