Slums in Indian cities are the most vulnerable areas to heat wave effect during summer, as they experience discomfort conditions throughout the day and night unlike other parts of the city, said an expert at the National Workshop on Preparedness, Mitigation and Management of Heat Wave.
A two-day workshop is being organised by the A.P. State Disaster Management Authority (APSDMA) and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and UNICEF. The workshop was attended by NDMA members R.K. Jain, Kamal Kishore, N.C. Marwah, NDMA joint secretary V. Thiruppugazh, APSDMA MD M.V. Seshagiri Babu and others.
Speaking on ‘Heat wave preparedness and Built Environment’ Rajshree Kotharkar, Associate Professor at Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur, said, “Temperatures in various areas of the cities may vary depending on the vegetation and built environment, and heat wave conditions may prevail in some areas even if the State declares no heat wave considering a particular level of temperature.”
“The core areas of the cities experience lesser temperatures in the day than the fringe areas and vice-versa happens during the night. Slums in Indian cities are most vulnerable to heat waves. They are not built with light material and feel the urban heat island effect the most and causes discomfort to dwellers in the day as well as in the night,” she said.
Also not all cooling methods like cool roofs, cool pavements work in all areas of the city and cool pavements and increased vegetation helped in cooling areas in heat islands the most, Ms. Rajashree said, and added that different development patterns require different mitigation plans.
Speaking on the action plan required for Prevention and Management of Heatwave including local threshold determination, Dileep Mavalankar of the Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar, said the mortality rate is high during the combination of hot day and lesser cool nights during peak summer.
Study on deaths
“Study on the deaths reported in five medical centres in Ahmedabad during 2001 and 2015 proved the same. The same happened in Nagpur and even in Europe,” Mr. Dileep said. He said the heat wave mortality rate came down considerably in India since the Heatwave action plan was followed in 2009.
He said that interventions such as public awareness, building medical capacity, hospital readiness, reducing heat expansion, early warning systems would help bring down the fatalities.
Mr. R.K. Jain said that the number of heat wave deaths came down in Andhra Pradesh and other parts of the county.
Representatives of various organisations and disaster management authorities in various states took part in the workshop.