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Hundreds Die In Pakistan Heat Wave

A four-day heat wave has killed more than 780 people in Karachi as the government declared a holiday in the southern Pakistani city to encourage people to stay home. The heat wave has coincided with severe electricity cuts and the holy month of Ramadan, when most Muslims do not eat or drink during daylight hours. Many of the deaths, among the elderly and poor have been caused by dehydration. Charities have been working to bridge the gaps in an overburdened and poorly funded public health system in the city of 20 million people, home to Pakistan's main stock market, central bank, and biggest port. Government health officials did not return calls seeking comment. Many of Karachi's wealthy have generators to run air conditioners to beat the heat, which reached 44 degrees Celsius over the weekend. Public services in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation of 190 million people, are starved of resources because of endemic tax evasion.
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A man uses a hand-held fan to cool down his son while waiting in line for a medical checkup outside a health-center in Karachi.
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A man uses a hand-held fan to cool down his son while waiting in line for a medical checkup outside a health-center in Karachi.

People cool off on a hot day in Karachi.
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People cool off on a hot day in Karachi.

People receive drinking water from volunteers during the intensely hot weather in Karachi on June 23.
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People receive drinking water from volunteers during the intensely hot weather in Karachi on June 23.

A Karachi man cools off under a public tap after filling bottles with water.
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A Karachi man cools off under a public tap after filling bottles with water.

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