HEATWAVE ACTION PLAN
NECESSITY OF HEAT WAVE ACTION PLAN
Heat Wave Plan is a Plan intended to protect the population from heat related harm to health. It aims to prepare for, alert people to, and prevent, the major avoidable effects on health during periods of severe heat, while the days are sunny in summer, it should not be forgotten that the temperature can get too high, that it can become uncomfortably hot, and for some, it can become dangerously hot putting their life at risk.
Spells of abnormally high temperatures that occur in different parts of the country during April to June are referred to as heat waves. The term heat wave is a description of prevailing temperature conditions relative to daily normal value. The IMD (India Meteorological Department) has laid down the following criteria for describing a heat wave or a severe heat Wave or a Warm Night. Heat wave is considered only after the maximum temperature of a station reaches atleast 40ºC for plains and atleast 30ºC for hilly regions.
➣ When actual maximum temperature of a station is more than or equal to 40ºC.
➻ Heat wave- Departure from normal temperature is 5ºC - 6ºC
➻ Severe Heat wave - Departure from normal temperature is 7ºC or more
➣ When actual maximum temperature is 45ºC or more, irrespective of normal maximum temperature, heat wave is declared.
Warm Night is declared if actual maximum temperature of a station is more than or equal to 40ºC and minimum temperature departure is more than or equal to 5ºC.
Very Warm Night is declared if actual maximum temperature of a station is more than or equal to 40ºC and minimum temperature departure is more than or equal to 7ºC.
Coordinated action is needed among government agencies at the State level to reduce the devastating health effects of heat stress on local residents. A practical plan of targeted interventions can increase information-sharing, communication, preparedness, and response coordination to improve the most vulnerable populations’ resilience to rising temperatures and consequently minimize heat wave fatalities.
B. HISTORICAL DATA ON HEAT WAVES IN TELANGANA
Following shows theMonthly climatology maps of number of Heat Wave days for the 5 months of (a) March, (b) April, (c) May, (d) June and (e) July over India. The climatology was computed by averaging the number of HW days for the period (1961-2010)
Following Map shows the duration of the longest Heat Wave spell over each of the stations used in the study during the analysis period of 1961-2010. The duration of (a) HW spells ≥10 days and (b) SHW spells ≥5 days are shown using red colour.
|EVER RECORDED EXTREME MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE VALUES IN TELANGANA|
|No. of Heat wave days in a month.||Year wise|
➣ In 1984 Heat Waves prevailed for 16 days from 14 May to 29 May in Ramagundam.
➣ In Telangana, during 1986-1993, the heat waves were mainly of moderate in nature with maximum duration of 7-13 days (April 1987). The highest maximum temperature of 47ºC was recorded at Nalgonda, and Ramagundam on 11 May 1988.
➣ In 1984 Heat Waves prevailed for 16 days from 14 May to 29 May in Ramagundam
➣ From 1994 onwards, the frequency of severe heat waves and the duration of heat wave spells have increased significantly. In 1997 (18 May to 5 June) and 1998 (23 May to 10 June) the duration of moderate to severe heat wave spells had extended up to 19 days.
➣ Since Heat wave conditions prevail in several parts of the state during the summer, deaths due to sunstroke occur every year.
A State Level Committee was constituted headed by Dr.R.K.Pachauri, D.G.TERI, New Delhi on Heat Wave Conditions in erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh after a severe heat wave caused several fatalities across the State in 2003. The committee in it’s report has concluded the following on the basis of field visits, discussions with the families of the victims and study of data relating to the socio-economic and personal details of the deceased persons.
➣ Most of the victims were from Below Poverty Line (BPL) families
➣ Most victims were engaged in out-door occupations
➣ Age-related vulnerability among working members is indicated from the fact that maximum deaths occurred in the age group 40-60
➣ No significant difference in risk factors affecting men and women was indicated.
The Committee recommended preparedness at the community level & precaution measures for taking up at Heat Wave conditions and the symptoms of Heat Waves related ailments. Some of the recommendations include putting in place an Early Warning System, establishing Observatories at field level, Issue of Short-term warnings, Rapid dissemination of heat wave warnings, Developing public awareness, Stocking of medicines, oral rehydration salts, etc., Telephone links to primary health centres and hospitals, Training of village-level functionaries, Preparedness the community level, initiating Response and Relief Measures, Improving connectivity, Providing Stable electricity supply and others including measures to protect horticulture crops, poultry, housing etc.
Despite adopting these recommendations deaths due to heat waves continued to be reported. This could be due to lack of a Comprehensive Plan to tackle the heat waves.
C. After a severe heat wave affected the State of Telangana in May 2015, causing several deaths Government of Telangana has taken the initiative to develop a comprehensive heat wave action plan for extreme heat events.
In Telangana State, the period from April to June are Summer months. During this period the temperatures rise considerably, sometimes touching 47º C in May in Districts like Khammam, Nizamabad, Nalgonda, Karimnagar and Warangal. To protect and prepare Telangana for extreme heat events, State Government formed a Committee to prepare a comprehensive plan on the lines of Heat Wave Action Plans of other states such as Gujarat, Odisha, etc., to avoid sunstroke fatalities in the future.
D. COMMITTEE : The following are the members of the Committee:
The Committee met several times and after perusal of Heat Wave Action Plans of Ahmedabad and Odisha and after discussions with Departments prepared the Telangana Heave Wave Action Plan.
The Telangana Heat Wave Action Plan is divided into two parts.
Part - I - Purpose of Heat Wave Action Plan
Part - II - Implementation of Heat Wave Action Plan
PART - I
The Telangana Heat Wave Action Plan aims to provide guidelines on the steps to be taken by the administration for minimising the impact of Heat Waves. The Plan’s primary objective is to help the population most at risk of Heat related illness to avoid the effects of the heat waves.
Extreme heat planning includes:
Identifying vulnerable populations and the health risks specific to each group;
Developing effective strategies, agency coordination, and response planning to shape a Heat wave Action Plan that addresses heat-health risks;
Implementing the Heat Action Plan and activating heat alerts; and
Evaluating and updating the Heat Action Plan regularly.
Successful implementation of the Heat Action Plan in Telangana requires co-ordination between Government Departments; health care professionals including emergency medical personnel, health center staff, and hospital staff; and community groups.
PART - II
The plan is to be implemented in three phases:
Phase- I Pre-Heat Season (January through March)
Phase-II During the Heat Season (March through July)
Phase-III Post-Heat Season (July through September)
The Commissioner for Disaster Management & Ex-Officio Principal Secretary to Government (CDM & EOPS) as Nodal Officer to head the Heat Wave Action Plan at State Level, District Collector is the Nodal Officer at District Level and Commissioner Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is the Nodal Officer for GHMC area Municipal Corporation and Commissioner, Municipal Corporations/Municipalities in their respective Municipalities.
The Nodal Officer is responsible for coordinating and communicating ahead of, and during, extreme heat events. The Nodal Officer should adopt the steps given in three Phases.