Volunteers spray water on people's faces as temperatures reached 118 degrees

Volunteers spray water on people's faces as temperatures reached 118°F in Hyderabad, Pakistan on May 24, 2024.

(Photo: Jan Ali Laghari/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Climate Emergency Again Grips Pakistan as Temps Soar to Nearly 126°F

"The customers are not coming to the restaurant because of extreme heat," said one tea shop owner in the town of Mohenjo Daro. "I sit idle at the restaurant with these tables and chairs and without any customers."

Record-breaking heat in Pakistan's southern province of Sindh this week was the South Asian country's latest local climate emergency, with temperatures soaring to 125.6°F on Monday.

The extreme heat this month comes amid warnings from the World Weather Attribution that last month's heatwaves in Asian countries including Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam were "driven by emissions from oil, gas, and coal."

The think tank also said in 2022 that Pakistan's devastating floods that year were made more likely by the fossil fuel-driven climate crisis.

Australia-based journalist Abdul Waheed Rabbani said Pakistan's "profound climate challenges" should push the government to declare a national emergency to address extreme heatwaves and other climate impacts.

The temperatures in Sindh on Monday were the highest of the summer season so far and approached the country's record high.

Cities deployed volunteer teams to spray residents with cold water as they went about their daily tasks.

In the historic town of Mohenjo Daro, which welcomes tourists to its archeological sites and offers a downtown area where visitors can shop and dine, the 125°F heat harmed the local economy this week.

"The customers are not coming to the restaurant because of extreme heat," Wajid Ali, who owns a tea shop, toldReuters. "I sit idle at the restaurant with these tables and chairs and without any customers... Also there is no power. The heat has made us very uneasy."

The city of Turbat in the southwestern province of Balochistan recorded Pakistan's highest-ever temperature of 129.2°F in 2017, and the following year, dozens of people in Pakistan suffered from heatstroke as meteorologists reported the planet's hottest April on record in the city of Nawabshah, where temperatures rose to 122.3°F.

"Pakistan is the fifth most vulnerable country to the impact of climate change," said Rubina Khursheed Alam, the government climate coordinator, at a news conference last Friday. "We have witnessed above normal rains, floods."

Pakistan's capital, Karachi, is expected to be hit with extreme heat in the coming days.

In addition to rapidly drawing down fossil fuel emissions, especially in the world's biggest pollution-causing countries including the U.S., Pakistan-based water management expert Amjad Jamal urged officials to confront "Pakistan's climate roller coaster" through adaptation.

"To mitigate the impact of these extremes," said Jamal, "government and communities must invest in water harvesting and storage, implement climate-resilient agriculture, enhance disaster preparedness and response, promote water conservation and efficiency, [and] support climate-smart infrastructure development."

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