Heat action plans for 23 states likely by next year: Govt
The heat action plan presents immediate as well as longer-term actions to increase preparedness, information-sharing, and response coordination to reduce the health impacts of extreme heat on vulnerable populations
New Delhi: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) are working with 23 states prone to high temperatures leading to heat-wave conditions to develop heat action plans, the Union government informed Parliament on Thursday.
In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Union minister of state (independent charge) for earth sciences Dr Jitendra Singh said the heat action plan is a comprehensive early warning system and preparedness plan for extreme heat events. The minister said the heat action plans are likely to be implemented in 2023.
“As per studies, the stress induced due to the heat waves increases respiration and mortality, reduces fertility, modifies animal behaviour, and suppresses the immune and endocrine system, thereby increasing animal susceptibility to some diseases,” Singh said in response to a question pertaining to the effect of prolonged heatwaves on the livestock sector.
The heat action plan presents immediate as well as longer-term actions to increase preparedness, information-sharing, and response coordination to reduce the health impacts of extreme heat on vulnerable populations.
“As an adaptive measure, IMD in collaboration with local health departments have started heat action plan in many parts of the country to forewarn about the heat waves and also advising action to be taken during such occasions. Heat action plan became operational since 2013,” he added.
Twenty-three states have been identified by IMD and NDMA that were prone to heat waves and needed state-level heat action plans. Climate experts have pointed out that in the coming decade, the average increase in temperature recordings in the city could range anywhere between 1.5-2 degrees Celsius. The states that are in the list include Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Jharkhand.
Since 2017, NDMA is conducting regular workshops with various state representatives on ways to implement a holistic heat action plan and how its implementation can help save lives.
While currently IMD is giving out forecasts on monthly, fortnightly, weekly and a three-day basis, these forecasts often remain just that, and it is not taken forward by most states to implement any action on-ground.
“Our early warning system gives long-range and short-range forecasts and acts as an alert system for government agencies. Our forecast bulletins are issued four times a day from our headquarters and twice a day from state meteorological centres, daily press releases and videos are issued for public notice, and warnings are also issued to different users via email, common alert protocol and social media platforms,” said M Mohapatra, director general (meteorology), IMD.