Climate Change

India on high alert as heatwaves continue to hit

Heatwaves are the third-biggest natural killer in India

 
Last Updated: Thursday 30 May 2019

India is experiencing the wrath of summer and it’s going to get worse in the coming days — almost half the country has already been put on heatwave alert. Warnings were issued in as many as 16 of 36 meteorological subdivision on Wednesday.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said intense heatwave conditions were likely to continue over most parts of northwestern India. The weather forecasters declare a heatwave when maximum temperatures reach the threshold value of 40 degree Celsius in the plains and 30º C in hilly areas. 

Chandrapur in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region recorded the highest temperature this summer at 48º C. Heatwaves are being experienced in parts over Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh along with central Maharashtra, Telangana, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. 

This heatwave spell is among the strongest this summer, according to official reports. IMD officials said the ongoing weak El Niño conditions may also play their part in ensuring higher than normal temperature.

Heatwaves are the third-biggest natural killer in India, causing 2,040 human deaths in 2015. They have killed 25,716 people from 1992 to
2016 in various states.

Yet governments have refused to consider heatwaves a natural disaster, thereby not devoting financial and infrastructure resources to the problem. 

According to scientists, intense heat waves are becomingly increasingly frequent due to effects of climate change globally. According to the Union Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation, instances of heatwaves increased from 21 in 2010 to over 500 in 2017.

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