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Pakistan digs mass graves as heat wave looms

Friday, May 20, 2016 - 01:06

Karachi residents are digging mass graves to prepare for an impending heat wave, as Pakistan steels itself for temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius. Yiming Woo reports.

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Shahid Baloch is hard at work. He and his brothers are digging up mass graves in Karachi, ahead of a potentially deadly heat wave. The one last summer killed more than 1,300 people, and the fast-decaying corpses couldn't be buried quickly enough. (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) GRAVE DIGGER, SHAHID BALOCH, SAYING: "Thank God, we are better prepared this year. God forbid that it happens again but we have already dug graves to accommodate 300 bodies." Hospitals and morgues in the Pakistani port city were overwhelmed last year as temperatures soared to 44 degrees Celsius. The crisis exposed the local government's inability to deal with a heat wave that scientists say will become more common in future. This year, they've set up water stations to help residents keep cool. (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) LABOURER, MOHAMMAD NAEEM, SAYING: "It is very hot. People are feeling dizzy. This arrangement is very good, it will be even better if these water stalls are set up in three or four more places in this area." Authorities are also speaking to religious officials, in case the heat wave happens during the fasting month of Ramadan.

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Pakistan digs mass graves as heat wave looms

Friday, May 20, 2016 - 01:06