Social Protection Resource Centre

Heat waves A Hot spell in March

Climate change affects people in their everyday life. Globally extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and heatwaves increased since last few years. According to WHO from 1998 to 2017, more than 166000 people died due to heatwaves including more than 70,000 who died during 2003 heat wave in Europe. 

Pakistan is also among adversely affected countries from climate change. These effects are getting severe with each passing year. Pakistan in this regard is facing disturbance in weather cycle mainly in shape of heat waves and floods. Heat wave is basically a prolonged period of high temperature than usual. This year Pakistan is facing an unexpected heatwave in the month of March that is normally expected to hit in May or June. Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) in this regard has also warned about the heat wave from (14-20 March 2022) due to persistent high pressure in upper atmosphere. Temperature would likely to remain 09 to 10 degrees higher than normal. Facing a heatwave in March in country like Pakistan is a clear depiction of how gigantic the issue of climate change has become and its repercussions are coming in unexpected manners like early heatwaves. Pakistan has long history of facing extreme weather in the shape of heatwaves. Pakistan has experienced more than 120 heatwaves between the years 1997 to 2015 with an increasing trend. These heat waves result badly on the health of the masses. According to the data available on Climate Change Knowledge Portal the annual mean temperature of Pakistan shows increasing trends from 15. 87 ⃘ C in 2000 to 18. 93 ⃘ C 2020. According to PMD the year 2021 remains 7 th warmest year on record across Pakistan with the National average annual temperature 23.43 ⃘ C being 0.99 ⃘ C above average.

The frequency and duration of extreme heatwaves are becoming more intense in Pakistan due to climate change and global warming. As the situation get worse there is a need to take heat stroke precautions as well as consider the symptoms requiring urgent hospitalization. Heat stroke can be prevented by drinking plenty of water and avoiding direct sun exposure among other measures in this situation. To cope with this situation, Government is taking mitigation measures like establishment of heatwave relief centers at both Government and private hospitals. Establishing helpline and enhance awareness among the masses regarding the issue. Climate Change is an emerging global concern and need to be taken quite seriously. It is the need of the hour that all the countries should join hands for this cause and make collaborative efforts. So, that the people can be saved from the upcoming catastrophic effects of climate change. “Climate change is a terrible problem, and it absolutely needs to be solved. It deserves to be a huge priority” (Bill Gates)