Early Planning for Early Action - Heat Wave

In recent years, heat wave has increased in intensity and duration over the country whereby a number of States/districts/cities/towns have been severely affected. This year, the States have to simultaneously manage COVID-19 and heat wave. Therefore, State governments need to be prepared for a different kind of experience of vulnerability and exposure to heat wave and devise mitigation measures accordingly.

To tackle heat wave in the summer of 2021, preparations for the same started way before in January itself. NDMA held a National Webinar on Heat Wave (Theme: Early Planning for Heat Wave Risk Reduction) on 19th January 2021 inviting academicians, policy makers, Central Ministries, NGOs, IGOs, State Governments and other stakeholders to discuss ways to tackle issues related to heat wave. The webinar was divided into three technical sessions.

The first technical session focused on heat wave risk reduction, early warning, forecasting and communication strategy. It began with Dr Naresh Kumar, Scientist, IMD who informed the audience of impact based early warning and forecast including consecutive heat days, night temperature and wind direction, early warning dissemination and communication strategy for effective preparedness measures. 

Dr S.C. Bhan, Senior Scientist & Dy. GM, IMD shed a light on early warning dissemination and communication strategy for effective preparedness measures. He further went on to explain the challenges and opportunities to improve the reach of early warning messages. Technical session II focused on preparedness planning for heat wave risk reduction - issues and challenges for effective Heat Action Plan and implementation. 

Prof Dileep Mavalankar, Director, IIPHG highlighted the challenges of developing and implementing effective Heat Action Plans as well as stressed upon the importance of cool roofs during the summer season. 

Dr Lipika Nanda, Vice President, PHFI, Hyderabad spoke about local threshold determination and vulnerability assessment of Heat Related Health Hazards mapping, heat wave risk reduction by building long-term climate change risk mitigation and adaptation, developing framework for model Heat Action Plan for Indian cities including mainstreaming of heat wave risk reduction. 

Dr Ajit Tyagi, Former DG-IMD, Member WMO and Advisor IRADe, New Delhi, Integrated Research and Action for Development, spoke on climate change adaptation and discussed short-term adaptation measures.

(Prof) Dr Rajashree Kotharkar, (VNIT), Nagpur suggested the aim of a model heat action plan as to provide a framework for developing plans for implementation, interagency coordination and impact evaluation of heat wave response activities to reduce the negative impact of extreme heat. Technical session III focused on sharing State experiences and Capacity Building to adopt heat wave risk reduction strategy and to enhance effective response and governance through lessons learnt and determine future plan of action. 

Shri M. Ramachandradudu, Additional Secretary, Bihar explained about the relief operations and activities undertaken during heat waves in Gaya and the action plan envisaged for 2021. Dr M. M. Ali, Scientist, Government of Andhra Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority, highlighted steps taken by the State of Andhra Pradesh to reduce the impact of heat wave in the State through awareness generation and information dissemination. Shri Paras Nath Rai, Member, Bihar State Disaster Management Authority highlighted the experience of Bihar Rural Fire Safety and Mitigation Plan and addressed the challenges in implementing the same. 

The webinar concluded with Dr V. Thiruppugazh, AS (PP), NDMA directing the future course of action and discussing a few short-term and long-term action points to be taken to maintain the downward trend of deaths caused by heat wave, to reduce heat wave-related illnesses, assess the economic impact and evolve appropriate policy decisions. 

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