Get ready for second-degree burns

| | New Delhi
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Get ready for second-degree burns

Tuesday, 11 June 2024 | Archana Jyoti | New Delhi

Get ready for second-degree burns

Northwest India, including regions like Jammu division, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, and parts of Jharkhand and Odisha in the East, is bracing for another bout of extreme heat in the coming days, with temperatures expected to soar over 45 degrees Celsius.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued warnings, indicating that heatwave to severe heatwave conditions are likely to prevail over these areas in the next five days.

This looming heatwave comes on the heels of a series of intense and prolonged heat waves experienced across the country in April and May. Tragically, many States, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Odisha, have reported heatwave-related deaths and illnesses. Since March, nearly 25,000 suspected cases of heat stroke and 56 deaths have been recorded as per data shared by the National Centre for Disease Control, with States like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh being the worst hit.

However, these figures might be just the tip of the iceberg as data from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Delhi which also experienced blistering weather were not included.

The IMD has forecast that the heatwave is likely to affect several States, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Gangetic West Bengal.

As per the IMD bulletin, heatwave conditions are likely in pockets of Jammu division, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Jharkhand, and Odisha during the next 5 days; Himachal Pradesh from June 12 to 14; Uttarakhand from June 11 to 14; Rajasthan on June 12 and 13; Madhya Pradesh from June 12 to 14.

Heatwave conditions are also likely in parts of Gangetic West Bengal until June 13. Heatwave to severe heatwave conditions are predicted in isolated pockets from June 10 to 12 and in parts of Bihar from June 10 to 12. They were likely in parts of Uttar Pradesh until June 14.

IMD director general M Mohapatra said the fresh spell of heatwave is expected mainly due to an anticyclone which is causing subsidence of hot air over northwest India.

“The onset of heatwaves is often attributed to anticyclones, which result in the subsidence of hot air over affected regions. This phenomenon leads to the compression and heating of air, creating a heat dome effect that traps heat and suppresses cloud formation. Consequently, cooler air currents are displaced, exacerbating the heat,” explained a Met official.

While extreme heat can be a risk factor for all ages, older people, pregnant women, and people with chronic morbidities besides those from the marginalised communities like labourers, are particularly at risk of mortality and morbidity associated with (extreme) heat.

The Union Health Ministry has been conducting review meetings with states to ensure preparedness for heatwaves and to prevent incidents like hospital fires during the summer months.

DGHS Dr Atul Goel  in a recent meeting on June 6 had urged the State health authorities to conduct follow-up reviews for ensuring dedicated Heat Stroke rooms, ORS corners and strengthening surveillance as well as implement critical fire and electrical safety measures at all health care facilities.

The country has this year witnessed the worst heat wave in May. Hills of Assam, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh, recorded all-time high temperatures with mercury breaching  50 degrees Celsius in Rajasthan and neared this mark in Delhi and Haryana. According to 'World Weather Attribution', a group of leading climate scientists, similar heatwaves could occur once every 30 years and these have already become about 45 times more likely due to climate change.

As per a World Bank report, India could account for 34 million of the projected 80 million global job losses from heat stress-associated productivity decline by 2030 while yet another study has warned that India faces food losses worth USD 13 billion a year, with only four per cent of fresh produce covered by cold chain facilities.

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