A strong heat wave


We are entering a week of dry and intensely hot weather. A strong heat wave was already expected and now the time has come. This will not be the only heat wave of this summer season. Predictions of high temperatures considered, it looks like the heat wave will persist and return throughout. If precautions like minimum sun exposure and staying hydrated are the different ways of coping, Pakistan is also very well aware of the cause that has made these heat waves a permanent feature of the climate landscape.
Climate change is real. We have faced devastating floods in 2022 and equally damaging excessive rains just recently in parts of Balochistan and especially Gwadar. The wrath of climate change is not just limited to Pakistan. The neighbourhood also stands amidst almost similar, often unexpected and unpredictable, climate behaviours. So while Pakistan faces a heat wave so do Bangladesh and India. Likewise, appeals are being made to help flood-affected people in Northern Afghanistan.
Extreme temperatures carry the risk of heat-induced deaths. It is important that Pakistan and Pakistanis be prepared for the rising temperatures that will hit the country in the coming days. Government announcements must be proactive and reach a maximum number of people. In addition, there are community-level mechanisms that help save people from the severity of the heat wave. The time for all such initiatives is now. The debate on how our activities have brought this on us is valid but more focus should be on saving lives, keeping both humans and animals in the shade.
Provincial and federal governments must deliver the assistance people need in the heat crisis. Not all people have the luxury of staying indoors in peak sun hours. Drinking water must be available at all places. Some measures are long-term when it comes to climate change, for example how we plan our cities and how we minimise the use of hydrocarbons. Such measures should also keep running in our climate adaptation policies. For now, people must be saved and all necessary arrangements must be delivered. As communities, we all must step up to do what we can.