The devastating impact of climate change and rising temperatures on the country cannot be ignored any longer by government officials. Jacobabad, Sindh has been one of the world’s few recorded sites which have exceeded a wet-bulb temperature of 35°C, a temperature where human bodies can no longer cool themselves, and is a city where the difference between 1.5°C and 2°C can be the difference between life and death. Temperatures have several times exceeded 49°C in Mohenjodaro. Sibbi and Larkana this year. These levels alone are alarming enough but viewed in the context of the water and electricity crises faced, the situation is close to that of an emergency.

If the impact of global climate change is not curbed, these cities will soon become inhabitable. Unfortunately, most of the inhabitants of these cities live below the poverty line; a canal irrigation system has also cemented many livelihoods, schools and markets in Jacobabad. This indicates that the population is not likely to move out, but that the cities will be subject to severe health crises.

Despite millions of dollars of aid being given, the government’s response is decisively lacklustre. There needs to be strict accountability as to why Jacobabad’s hospitals have no emergency centres for heat stroke victims, or why there is a shortage of beds, despite the USAID water and sanitation project running in Jacobabad, part of a larger $40 million programme in Sindh.

Before that, the Sindh and federal governments need to enact emergency measures considering there are three more months of summer awaiting us. The water crisis faces the province but that does not grant the government an excuse not to provide clean drinking water, as reports indicate that most of the water provided to these cities is severely contaminated. The government must also look into emergency public cooling areas, and formalise partnerships with private water suppliers to ensure that at least the basic needs of the cities’ most vulnerable are being met.