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Deadly Heatwaves: The Leading Cause of Disaster-Related Deaths in India

Everyone is complaining about the scorching sun in India, they say that they are sweating every time and it makes their sunscreen useless. The number of elderly people fainting on the road has increased over the past few years.  More people are admitted to the hospital because of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. People are struggling to access water due to the drought that is ravaging farmlands and ponds. Why has it become this worst?

To know it we must first understand the meaning of Heat wave. A heat wave is a time when the temperature is too high and may be accompanied by high humidity, especially in countries with oceanic climates. It is a strong silent killer, unlike other disasters like tsunamis, cyclones, and hurricanes. When the highest temperature surpasses 40 degrees Celsius and is 4.5 degrees above average, the IMD declares a heatwave. India faces heatwaves from March to June and some places experience it till July. It is dreadful in central India, north-western India, Andra Pradesh, and Odisha.

 India faced its first heatwave in 1956 and it significantly increased by 55% between the years 2000 and 2004 and from 2017 to 2021, according to a recent study that was published in the medical journal The Lancet. In addition, Indians lost 167.2 billion potential labor hours as a result of heat exposure in 2021, resulting in a loss of income equivalent to approximately 5.4% of the GDP of the nation. If this worsens then the schools and other educational institutions will close during that time period. Farmers believe unexpected temperature surges have harmed their wheat crop; a phenomenon that might have worldwide ramifications given supply bottlenecks caused by the Ukraine war. In addition, experts warned the rise in temperatures could lead to increased fire risks.

It is known that India is going to be more vulnerable to this heat in the coming years unless the Government takes it seriously. The heat wave will start early and stay longer and make the days and nights hotter. Global warming is to blame for all of these occurrences. The first city to take action towards this problem was Ahmedabad. They devised a heat action plan that included easy procedures such as remaining indoors, drinking plenty of water before venturing out, going to the hospital emergency room if one felt unwell, and relocating patients from a roasting top level to a lower floor of a non-airconditioned hospital. According to Prof Mavalankar, this action plan was implemented in 2013, and by 2018, mortality from all causes in the hot, dry metropolis had decreased by one-third. Unfortunately, this isn't working for other Indian states for unknown reasons. It’s high time that the Government understand the importance of this and work on effectively implementing plan and strategies to tackle this problem.


Edited by Fahima Afrin

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Tags: #india #heatwave #2023 #indiahot #deathratesincreasing #deadlyheatwave


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