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Showing posts from June, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Mythbusters

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Myth: People with one or more comorbidities should not get vaccinated.  Fact: COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in adults with comorbidity.  Myth: Wearing a mask is no longer necessary after getting vaccinated.  Fact: Ever after getting vaccinated, one must follow covid appropriate behaviour i.e. wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and regularly washing/sanitising hands.  Myth: If you have had Coronavirus, then you don’t need the vaccine.  Fact: It is advisable to receive the complete schedule of COVID-19 vaccine irrespective of past history of infection. One must get vaccinated three months after recovery.  Myth: Vaccine can cause infertility in men and women.  Fact: COVID-19 vaccine is completely safe and there is no scientific evidence to prove that it can cause infertility in men and women.  Myth: Women should not take the vaccine 5 days before and after their menstrual cycle.  Fact: Experts have rubbished the claim and said periods have no effect on the vaccin

Five FAQs - Flood

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What are floods and the factors which cause floods? An overflow of a large amount of water beyond its normal limits, especially over what is normally dry land.  Causes : - • Meteorological factors such as heavy rainfall, cyclonic storms, etc.  • Hydrological factors such as occurrence of high tides.  • Anthropogenic factors such as unplanned urbanization, poor waste management system, ill maintenance of drainage systems, etc. What preparations can people residing in flood-prone areas take?  Be updated about the weather. Prepare an emergency kit with essential items, keep a first aid kit, and keep important documents in water proof bags. One should keep their mobile phones charged and use SMS if necessary. Keep animals untied for their safety.  How should one stay safe during a flood?  During a flood, one should not enter flood waters. If necessary, wear suitable footwear. Stay away from sewerage lines, drains, gutters, electric poles, fallen power lines. Eat freshly cooked food or dry

Common Alert Protocol - Disaster Risk Reduction through an Integrated Alert System

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A huge role in preparing the vulnerable communities for disasters is the Common Alert Protocol (CAP).  What is CAP?  NDMA initiated a CAP-compliant integrated alert system–'सचेत' by partnering with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to disseminate alert messages to end users. CAP allows a warning message to be disseminated simultaneously over many dissemination mediums, thereby increasing effectiveness of the warning. It further ensures that the targeted populations, as well as disaster managers have more reaction time to mitigate losses from an impending disaster. CAP includes integration of all the major national alert generating agencies (IMD, CWC, INCOIS, SASE, etc.), the alert generating agencies in the 36 states and UTs, (SDMAs), and alert dissemination agencies. This platform has been demonstrated for geo-targeted SMS dissemination integrated with the telecom service providers of India in many states and UTs of India. Testing of the platform  The efficacy of the

Do You Know? - Interesting Facts on Cyclones

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Do you know what are cyclones?  A cyclone is an extreme weather phenomenon caused by disturbances around a low pressure area over water bodies. Winds spiral around the centre of this low pressure area in a snake-like coil and gather speed. These winds rotate anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. When it develops over tropical waters, it is known as a tropical cyclone. Tropical cyclones that are formed over the Atlantic Ocean are called hurricanes; those formed over the Indian Ocean are called cyclones, and those which are formed over the Pacific Ocean are called typhoons.  The average life period of a tropical cyclone is about seven days. However, they are relatively short lived over the north Indian Ocean with a life period of about 5-6 days. There are two cyclone seasons in the north Indian Ocean - premonsoon season (April-June) and post-monsoon season (OctoberDecember). The months of MayJune and October-November are known to produce cycl

Double Trouble - Cyclone Tauktae and Cyclone Yaas

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On the morning of 13th May, IMD released information on the formation of a low-pressure area over southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Lakshadweep area. This was to intensify further in the subsequent 24 hours into a cyclonic storm, named ‘Tauktae’ and move north northwestwards covering the entire west coast of India and make landfall in Gujarat by 17th-18th May.  In view of this, NDMA proactively took a meeting on the very same day with the concerned SDMAs to take stock of the preparations to reduce the effect of the impending cyclone. Do’s and don’ts related to preparation, precautions to take during cyclone were immediately disseminated on social media platforms television and radio. Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi also held a meeting on the 15th to review preparedness of the States, Central Ministries/Agencies for Cyclone Tauktae. Trajectory of Cyclone Tauktae (14-19 May, 2021) A low pressure area formed over southeast Arabian Sea & adjoining Lakshadweep area in the morning of 13th May

Five FAQs - Use of oxygen during COVID-19

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What is the role of oxygen during COVID-19 disease?  The requirement of medical oxygen is enhanced during COVID-19, as the disease primarily infects the lungs and in severe cases, causes death due to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and pneumonia. What should be the normal oxygen saturation as recorded by a Pulse Oximeter?  Normal level of oxygen is usually 95% or higher. In Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or sleep apnea, it is around 90%. If your home 'SpO2' (percentage of oxygen in blood) reading is lower than 95%, call your healthcare provider.  How do I check my oxygen level at home without a Pulse Oximeter?  Signs of low oxygen level are rapid heart rate and fast breathing rate. Under conditions of low oxygen, your body responds by increasing your heart rate (normal: 60-100 beats) and speeding up your breathing rate (normal: 12-20 breaths). Another sign is cyanosis, or a bluish colour change on your lips, nose, or fingertips. Seek medical help in cas

Earthquakes - Staying stable on unstable grounds

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At 7:51 am on 28 April 2021, Assam was struck by a massive earthquake of 6.4 magnitude on the Richter scale, according to the National Center for Seismology. The earthquake was felt in the entire northeast region of India and some parts of Bihar and West Bengal. A total of six aftershocks of magnitude ranging 3.2 to 4.7 on the Richter scale were felt within three hours from the time of occurrence of the main shock of 6.4.  The Bureau of Indian Standards has classified regions in India into four seismic zones. These are, zones II (low intensity), III (moderate intensity), IV (severe intensity) and V (very severe intensity). Among these, zone V is the most seismically active region and zone II is the least active. Northeast India falls under ‘Seismic Hazard Zone V’ and is also one of the six most seismically active regions of the world. The northeastern region is also associated with collisional tectonics where Indian plate subducts beneath the Eurasian Plate.  Earthquake hazards in the

Fighting Forest Fire

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India experiences forest fire incidents each year. According to the Forest Survey of India (FSI) about 36% of the country’s forest cover has been estimated to be prone to forest fire, out of which nearly 4% of the country’s forest cover is extremely prone to fire. The forest fire season in India usually occurs between the months of February and June. However, due to climate change and man-made factors, the occurrence, risk and severity of forest fires have increased as of late.  Dzukou Valley, about 30 km from Nagaland’s capital Kohima, is a popular trekking destination known for its lilies and biodiversity, was engulfed in fire on 29 December 2020. It took two weeks and the efforts of the National Disaster Response Force, Indian Air Force, local authorities and volunteers to douse the fire completely.  Not long after that, a major fire broke out on 28 March 2021 in Shirui Peak, home of the famous Shirui lilies in Manipur. NDMA held a meeting with concerned officials on 1 April 2021 to

Five FAQs - COVID-19 Vaccine

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Can a person presently having COVID -19 infection (confirmed positive or suspected), take COVID-19 vaccine now?  Person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection may increase the risk of spreading the same to others at vaccination site. For this reason, infected individuals should defer vaccination for 14 days after symptoms resolution. Is it necessary for the COVID-19 recovered person to take the vaccine?  Yes, it is advisable to receive complete schedule of COVID-19 vaccine irrespective of past history of infection with COVID-19. This will help in developing a strong immune response against the disease. Development of immunity or duration of protection after COVID-19 exposure is not yet established, therefore, it is recommended to receive vaccine even after COVID-19 infection. Wait for 4-8 weeks after recovery from coronavirus symptoms before getting the vaccine. How long will I stay protected from COVID-19 infection after taking vaccine?  Longevity of the immune response in vac

Fighting Lightning

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During the summer months in north India, an occasional thunderstorm associated with lightning and rainfall may provide some respite from the intense heat. However, it also leaves a trail of destruction accounting for nearly 2,500 deaths caused by lightning strikes every year (Source: Annual Report, NCRB). Thunderstorm and lightning strikes have emerged as one of the major weather hazards of recent years in many parts of the country. Why do thunderstorms and lightning occur?  The genesis of a thunderstorm is dependent on four factors - intense heating, moisture availability, instability in the atmosphere and a trigger. The reason why thunderstorms occur mostly during the summer season is because the lower level atmosphere and surface of the earth is hot. Heating makes the parcel of air lighter and leads to low density of atmosphere.  Secondly, if there is moisture, air becomes moist and hot, moist air is lighter than dry air and rises. As the air rises, it transfers heat from the surfac

Keeping cool this summer!

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A heat wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season in the northwestern parts of India. Heat waves typically occur between March and June, and in some rare cases even extend till July. The extreme temperatures and resultant atmospheric conditions adversely affect people living in these regions as they cause physiological stress, sometimes resulting in death.  To combat the killer effects of heat waves, NDMA drew up the National Guidelines under the title 'Preparation of Action Plan– Prevention and Management of Heat Wave' in 2016. The Guidelines were twice revised, first in 2017 and then in 2019. They were enriched with recommendations for more specific actions, based on scientific inputs derived from various research papers, reports and best practices; and provide a framework for implementation, coordination and evaluation of activities undertaken by local authorities to reduce the adverse effec