K.When you wake up in the morning, Archie’s heat hits you like a wall. When you stand up and make a difference, and the moisture wraps around your chest, you will realize that it will be really hot today. But there’s another day, so you grab your bag and go to work.
What happened to me in Karachi? I don’t want to live here anymore. It’s heat, it’s infrastructure, it’s everything. You are sweating, you have difficulty breathing, there is dust in the air. You have to use your brain at work but you have a brain fog, and after 25 minutes you already need to go out for air. But when you do, it’s hot, sunny, humid.
It has happened to me many times that I come home after work and I feel like my body is not working as it should be. I can’t exercise, I can’t go out, I can’t go for a walk. I feel nauseous. When it’s above 44 degrees Celsius it feels like you’re going to die – I’m not doing that.
And it’s getting worse. Now it goes above 40C on average, and the heat intensity is different when I was growing up in the city. Sunlight, more piercing. Karachi has always had a sea breeze, but now it really stays during the day. Our homes are not built to withstand such heat. A few days ago, I took out some food but met again and by the time I got back it was bad.
The problem for me is that we are already experiencing the hit views that we need to understand. We in Karachi know that we have to see heat from the end of June to September, but now it is like five months of heat instead. More and more, we’re seeing heatwave camps – shelters in shaded areas with fans, water and health checks.
Power problems have made it worse. Load shedding occurs during the summer months and, often during Ramadan, when people cannot drink water.
And the revenue has gone up, so my electricity bill was 72,000 last month [Pakistani] Rs [£330]. This is an astronomical amount, such as 65% of the electricity bill, such as two ACs and a refrigerator, the basic electricity bill. Our electricity was 92 hours last month and my area is not a regular one.
But the real question is not how I’m doing it. I’m fine because I have a house that is cold because of the air conditioning, and I have water because I can pay Rs 4,500 for a tank. My question is: when the power goes out in the middle of summer, what are the people on the other side of the city doing who don’t have any of it?
There is a big difference. I belong to a very privileged class where I can complain. I have a forum to complain that our infrastructure, our weather, everything is useless. There are people out there, that’s their existence. They don’t have hours, 12 hours of electricity, and they don’t have generators.
I see some effects of heatstroke symptoms in the hospital because they are in direct heat. In the previous hospital where I worked, a lot of people used to come to the hospital because it had uninterrupted power supply. There was nothing seriously wrong with them but they would come and be admitted when they had been without electricity for days – they would get food and a bed.
I feel helpless when I talk to them. Their level of hygiene is affected, their manner of speaking, their behavior is affected. But many believe that life is for them. Will be.
As told to Kamil Ahmed
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