Fall in mercury brings little respite for Karachiites owing to high humidity

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Temperature in Upper Sindh in Pakistan continued to stick to as high as 50C. Passers-by have found a great comfort in this fountain at Arts Council roundabout of Karachi where they struggle with heat during the holy month of Ramadan (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
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Temperature in Upper Sindh in Pakistan continued to stick to as high as 50C. Passers-by have found a great comfort in this fountain at Arts Council roundabout of Karachi where they struggle with heat during the holy month of Ramadan (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
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Temperature in Upper Sindh in Pakistan continued to stick to as high as 50C. Passers-by have found a great comfort in this fountain at Arts Council roundabout of Karachi where they struggle with heat during the holy month of Ramadan (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
Updated 03 June 2018
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Fall in mercury brings little respite for Karachiites owing to high humidity

  • Thousands died in June 2015 when heatwaves hit the seaside Pakistani metropolis for the first time
  • In Mohenjo-Daro, the temperature on Friday had soared as high as 50C

KARACHI: Dwellers of Karachi, a seaside Pakistan metropolis, have kept away from the busiest roads and crowded marketplaces because of high humidity in the air as mercury began to go down after a week of heatwaves.
The temperature in Upper Sindh continued to stick as high as 48C.
“Most parts of the country will remain in the grip of the intense heat, with temperatures above 40C in sub-mountainous areas of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and AJK, and around 50C in interior Sindh, southern and central Punjab and eastern Balochistan,” read a handout issued by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (MET) on Thursday evening. It said that the sea breeze would come back gradually along the coastal belt, bringing the Karachi temperature to the normal range of 35-37C during next week.
Shaukat Ali, an official at the airport office of MET Department, told Arab News on Sunday that the temperature in Larkana and Shaheed Benazirabad cities of Sindh remained 46C during the day. “Mohenjo-Daro remained the hottest city for the day with 48C,” Ali said.
Last month, Karachi, capital of the Sindh province, experienced the highest temperature in May for 37 years on Wednesday when the mercury touched 46C, with 10 percent humidity. Friday, however, witnessed 35C in Karachi but humidity further enhanced, which brought little positive changes to the weather.
“Although the temperature will go down in the coming days, the high level of humidity will give people the feel of a high temperature,” Director Karachi Met Office Abdur Rashid told Arab News. The official sees no respite during the coming days of Ramadan for Karachiites but rules out deaths due to bad weather.
“In the coming days the weather will be warmer due to high humidity and the remaining fasting won’t be easy,” Rashid said, urging people to continue with precautionary measures against heatwaves.
In May, Jacobabad experienced the hottest day of the country, when mercury went up to 51C. “However, the country’s highest temperature of 54C was recorded in May 2017 in the Turbat town of Balochistan,” said Rashid.
Rashid said climate change in Karachi was caused by climate change in the Arabian Sea, which had witnessed radical but strange change recently. Dr. Qamar-Uz-Zaman Chaudhry, special adviser at the World Meteorological Organization, concurred but said there had been warnings about climate change which should have been taken seriously.
“In June 2015, over a thousand people died when heatwaves hit the coastal city but this year there is zero mortality due to awareness among the dwellers of the city,” Executive Director of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center Dr. Seemi Jamali told Arab News. “Not a single death has been caused by heatwaves,” she said, refuting a claim by the noted philanthropist Faisal Edhi. “Yes, there were few deaths due to heat depression but no death has been caused by heatwaves, credit for which goes to the media for raising awareness and the Met office for issuing timely early warnings,” she said.
Chaudhry said climate changes were global but locally more plantation in urban units could counter unwanted weathers. “The more plantation, the more greenery and better precautionary measures can help people to escape undesirable consequence of heatwaves,” Chaudhry said.
The deaths of June 2015 and mass awareness have scared people, traders believe. Abdul Samad Memon, owner of a garment shop at Karachi’s Zainab market, said the warning of heatwaves and hot weather had brought a drastic decrease in daytime customers.
“During Ramadan the daytime clientele went down but due to heatwaves it has become almost zero,” Memon told Arab News, saying if the weather didn’t normalize it may affect sales.
Rizwan, who stopped at a fountain at Arts Council Roundabout to take a shower, said he has seen no changes. Unaware of the weather science, Rizwan told Arab News he had been upset by the weather.
“Not everyone can afford to sit at home. I have come out to bring items to my shop,” he said. Rizwan and other passers-by like him have found a comfort in this fountain.


Vladimir Putin gets lavish welcome on visit to ally Serbia

Updated 15 min 56 sec ago
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Vladimir Putin gets lavish welcome on visit to ally Serbia

  • Church bells tolled, guns saluted and people waved Russian and Serbian flags on Putin’s route through the Serbian capital, Belgrade
  • Serbia has maintained close links with traditional Slavic ally Russia despite formally seeking European Union membership

BELGRADE, Serbia: Vladimir Putin received a hero’s welcome in ally Serbia on Thursday as the Russian president attempted to maintain political and economic influence in the Balkans, which is increasingly looking Westward.
Putin’s presidential plane was escorted over Serbian airspace by MiG-29 fighter jets he recently donated to Serbia as he arrived for the one-day visit. Church bells tolled, guns saluted and people waved Russian and Serbian flags on Putin’s route through the Serbian capital, Belgrade.
Serbia has maintained close links with traditional Slavic ally Russia despite formally seeking European Union membership. It has refused to join Western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine and has pledged to stay out of NATO.
Putin has recently stepped up efforts to restore Moscow’s influence in the former communist countries of Eastern Europe.
Putin and his host, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, praised the relationship between the two countries. Putin handed a top Russian honor to Vucic, who gave a puppy of a Serb dog breed to the Russian president.
Vucic thanked Russia for its support for Serbia’s claim over Kosovo, a former province that declared independence in 2008, and added that “however small,” Serbia has been a “reliable partner” to Russia.
Several bilateral agreements were signed, including on the supply of Russian gas and weapons to Serbia.
On the gas, Putin said Russian companies are ready to invest about $1.4 billion into a stretch of a pipeline that would go from Turkey via EU-member Bulgaria to Serbia and then on to Hungary, “but in the end, everything will depend on other countries, including the European Union.”
Putin’s visit come as thousands have been holding weekly demonstrations against Vucic because of what they see as his autocratic rule.
Tens of thousands of Vucic’s right-wing party supporters were bused into the capital on Thursday to gather in front of the St. Sava Orthodox church, which the two presidents visited. They were chanting slogans including “Serbia-Russia, we don’t need the European Union!“
Vucic’s critics say the gathering was staged to suggest that the Serbian leader has many more supporters than opponents, who have been marching the same route since December to demand free elections and media.
Several liberal Serbian rights groups issued a statement on Thursday protesting “glorification of Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime.”
It said that Putin’s visit “indicates that the Serbian rulers are ready to sacrifice human rights and better living standards of citizens because of their servile attitude toward Putin’s regime.”
Russia’s interest in Serbia relates to its strategic position between East and West. Of Serbia’s eight neighbors, five are NATO members and two more are seeking membership; and four are in the EU and two more are working toward accession. Serbia remains Moscow’s only ally in the region.
Unlike NATO, Putin formally does not oppose Serbia’s EU path and analysts believe that this is because he wants a staunch ally — or perhaps a Trojan horse — within the 28-nation bloc.
Putin’s popularity in Serbia is mostly because the Kremlin is supporting Serbia in its rejection of Kosovo’s independence. In contrast, most Western countries have recognized Kosovo’s statehood.