On April 17, Cholera was first diagnosed in Pir Koh (a remote mountainous community in Balochistan Province). According to Dr. Ahmed Baloch from the health department in Balochistan, more than 2,000 people have been infected since then and six have died.
Residents of Pir Koh claim that they do not have access to clean drinking water. Local resident Hassan Bugti said that the lack of rain this summer has caused nearby ponds’ water supplies to dry up.
He said, “Residents are forced into drinking dirty water.”
Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, has directed “emergency relief measures” in order to reduce the cholera outbreak at Pir Koh. The military has been called in as a mobile water tank provider to ensure that clean drinking water is available to the population. Also, medical camps have been set up to treat the sick.
The outbreak comes as Pakistan faces a serious drought and an early onset heatwave that the Pakistan Meteorological Department stated has been persistent throughout the country since the beginning.
Jacobabad, a city in central Sindh province that is one of the hottest in the world, reached 51 degrees Celsius (123.8 Fahrenheit) Sunday and 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit the day before. The average high temperatures in the city for this month have been around 45° Celsius (113° Fahrenheit).
The heat will not ease soon. According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (Pakistan Meteorological Department), while some areas were relieved by dust storms and gusty winds over the past few days and scattered rains and thunderstorms in other parts of the country, temperatures are expected back up starting Wednesday.
Monday’s statement from Sherry R. Rehman, Pakistan’s Minister of Climate Change, said that Pakistan was one of the most water-stressed and most vulnerable countries to climate stress.
Rehman said that the country’s main dams are at “dead level right currently, and sources of fresh water are scarce as well contested,” CNN reported. Rehman also stated that “this is an all-encompassing existential emergency and must be taken seriously.”
India suffers from the heat
India, Pakistan’s neighbour, has also been affected by the heat wave. On Sunday, temperatures in Delhi exceeded 49 degrees Celsius (120 F)
India has been experiencing a heat wave in recent months. The average maximum temperature reached its highest level in 122 years in April in northwest India and March across the country.
According to the Indian Meteorological Departments (IMD), the scorching heat reached the 49 degree Celsius mark in Delhi for the first time this season. Temperatures reached 49.2° Celsius (120.5° Fahrenheit), at Delhi’s Mungeshpur meteor station, and 49.1° Celsius (120.3° Fahrenheit), at Najafgarh meteor station on Sunday. New Delhi was hit with temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for 14 days during May.
According to the IMD, Gurgaon, southwest New Delhi, reached its highest temperature since May 10, 1966 at 48.1 degrees Celsius (118.5 Fahrenheit) on Sunday.
The IMD forecasts some relief in Delhi, with cloudy and clear skies over the next few days. However, the IMD forecasts that high temperatures will return to some areas of the region later in this week.
India is known for experiencing heat waves during the summer months May and June. But this year, temperatures began rising in March and April.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Pakistan and India are among the worst-hit countries by the climate crisis. Experts believe climate change is causing heat waves that are more frequent and more prolonged, affecting more people than a billion across the two countries.
Dr. Chandni S, IPCC lead author, and senior researcher at Indian Institute for Human Settlements, stated that this heat wave “is testing human survivability.”
CNN’s Sophia Saifi reported on Islamabad, journalist Asim Kahn reported from Quetta. CNN’s Esha Mtra reported from New Delhi, Helen Regan wrote in Hong Kong. CNN’s Rhea Mgul and Robert Shackelford also contributed reporting.