Andhra Pradesh

Beware the deadly wave

An elderly man walks with no protection from the Sun on a sizzling summer day in Guntur on Wednesday.

An elderly man walks with no protection from the Sun on a sizzling summer day in Guntur on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: T_VIJAYA_KUMAR

Heatstroke deaths were hogging the headlines in State, but there has been a let-up since 2015

Floods, cyclones and earthquakes are the common names that cross one’s mind when one thinks of a natural calamity because of the trail of destruction they leave. They usually draw the attention of the government, the media and the public for the same reason even though their frequency has come down, at least in recent times.

In contrast, heat waves come make an unobtrusive entry during peak summer and then recede, but some times cause more fatalities than natural disasters. Heatstroke has led to the death of hundreds of persons in the past several years. Also, the number of heatstroke deaths recorded in Andhra Pradesh was the highest in the country for many years.

Only last year, the number of fatalities came down to 236 from a whopping 1,369 in 2015. The heat wave impact and a huge number of fatalities occurred across the country in 2015 have moved the National Disaster Management Authority to come with a plan to tackle the situation and made all the State-level agencies to do the same.

Concerted effort

In the first year of implementing the action plan, the AP State Disaster Management Authority (APSDMA) managed to bring down the heatstroke fatalities by half in 2016 by reaching out to the public and district administrations through awareness campaigns.

Five heatstroke deaths have been reported from Kurnool, Chittoor and Vizianagaram districts so far this summer. Also, 148 cases have been reported across the State. The APSDMA is however optimistic that the overall impact of the heat wave this season will be less.

“There are two reasons for hoping a lesser number of fatalities this year. The preparedness of the government has vastly improved, and the summer situation in State is being closely monitored. Secondly, the IMD predicts less hot days compared withlast year and there are thin chances of the prevalence of severe heat wave condition,” said S. Kishan, in-charge of the State Emergency Operation Centre of APSDMA.

Nonetheless, the State is highly prone to heat wave condition this summer and the India Meteorology Department has already announced that coastal districts Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur, Krishna, West Godavari, East Godavari and Visakhapatnam would witness heat wave conditions during peak summer.

IMD Hyderabad, Weather Forecasting head and scientist K. Nagaratna said that signs of the impending heat wave are already being felt in parts of the State. “Normal heat wave conditions may prevail in the coastal districts from the second and third weeks of May, the peak month of summer,” she said.

In all, 148 out of total 670 mandals in the State witnessed severe heat wave conditions and 410 witnessed moderate heat wave conditions in the past seven years.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 5:02:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/beware-the-deadly-wave/article23714033.ece

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