Islamabad, May 17 (IANS) A deadly cholera outbreak linked to contaminated drinking water has infected thousands of people in Pakistan as the country grapples with a water crisis exacerbated by a brutal heat wave.
Temperatures in parts of Pakistan have reached record levels in recent weeks, putting the lives of millions at risk as the effects of the climate crisis are felt across the subcontinent, reports CNN.
Cholera cases were first identified in Pir Koh, a remote mountainous town in Balochistan province, on April 17.
Since then, more than 2,000 people have been have been infected and six have died, CNN quoted Ahmed Baloch from the provincial health department as saying.
Residents in Pir Koh say they have no access to clean drinking water.
The lack of rain this year has caused nearby ponds to dry up, with their only source of water being a pipeline which had “rusted and contaminated the water supply”, said local resident Hassan Bugti.
“Residents are forced to drink dirty water,” he said.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered “emergency relief measures” to curb the cholera outbreak in Pir Koh, and the military has been called in to help provide mobile water tanks to ensure clean drinking water gets to the population and set up medical camps to treat the sick, CNN reported.
The outbreak comes as Pakistan faces a serious water crisis and an early onset heat wave that the Pakistan Meteorological Department said has been persistent across the nation since the start of the month.