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 The death toll from the heatwave has risen above 450

The death toll from the heatwave has risen above 450

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said it had received orders from Nawaz Sharif to take immediate action.

The army has also been deployed to set up heat stroke centres and assist the NDMA, it added.

Many of the victims are elderly people from low income families.

Health officials say many deaths have been in the largest city, Karachi, which has experienced temperatures as high as 45C (113F) in recent days.

Sindh province Health Secretary Saeed Mangnejo said that 612 people had died in the city?s main government-run hospitals during the past four days. Another 80 are reported to have died in private hospitals.

Thousands more are being treated, and some of them are in serious condition.

The demand for electricity for air conditioning has coincided with increased power needs over Ramadan, when Muslims fast during daylight hours.

Hot weather is not unusual during summer months in Pakistan, but prolonged power cuts seem to have made matters worse, the BBC?s Shahzeb Jillani reports.

Sporadic angry protests have taken place in parts of the city, with some people blaming the government and Karachi?s main power utility, K-Electric, for failing to avoid deaths, our correspondent adds.

The prime minister had announced that there would be no electricity cuts but outages have increased since the start of Ramadan, he reports.

Karachi resident Iqbal told the BBC on Monday that no-one in his family could go outside to work because of the temperature and that everyone in their area preferred to stay at home.

?In our area, there is no electricity [since the] morning. We have complained several times, but there is no response from K-Electric,? he said.

According to Pakistan?s metrological office cooler weather is forecast from Tuesday.

The all-time highest temperature reached in Karachi is 47C (117F), recorded in 1979.

Last month, nearly 1,700 people died in a heatwave in neighbouring India.

BBC

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