Kerala mulls heat clinics as mercury soars above normal

In the first phase, Kerala’s health clinics will be launched in Thiruvananthapuram, and will be equipped with paramedical staff, including doctors, who will provide support for distressed people. 

February 20, 2024 07:50 pm | Updated February 21, 2024 11:42 am IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

A scene from Government Lower Primary School, Ponnurunni, Kochi. Image for representational purpose only. File

A scene from Government Lower Primary School, Ponnurunni, Kochi. Image for representational purpose only. File | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

Stung by the rising temperature which touched 37-38 ̊C mark in various parts of the State ahead of the summer, the Kerala government is planning to roll out mobile heat clinics.

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In the first phase, the clinics will be launched in Thiruvananthapuram in connection with the Attukal Pongala on Sunday when lakhs of devotees throng the capital for the annual festival.

With the patronage of the Health department and Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA), the heat clinics, equipped with paramedical staff, including doctors, will provide support for distressed people. A senior bureaucrat told The Hindu that the heat clinics would be launched on either AC buses of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) or ambulances.

These clinics will ensure speedy medical support for those hit by the rising temperature. The clinics would be scaled up during the remaining summer season based on the response, said the officer.

The Local Self-Government department has also issued a circular allowing the local bodies to use their own or plan funds to address the potable water crisis in vulnerable areas ahead of the summer. The State government will also convene an inter-departmental meeting next week to chalk out an action plan to mitigate the impact of the rising mercury.

Meanwhile, Punalur recorded the highest temperature of 37.4 ̊C on Tuesday. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has also issued a heat alert for six districts warning of above normal temperatures on Wednesday. 

According to the alert, maximum temperatures are very likely to be around 37 ̊C in Alappuzha, Kottayam, Thrissur, and Kozhikode districts and around 36 ̊C in Ernakulam and Kannur districts (2 to 4 ̊C above normal) on Wednesday.

Though the State is looking for convectional rainfall as a result of the rising temperature, no major summer showers were reported anywhere in the State. Already, the mercury is ruling high with maximum temperature recording 2 to 4 ̊C above normal in most of the stations in the State.

Further, the lingering effect of El Niño, which persists although a steady weakening trend is evident in the oceanic indicators, coupled with a rise in global mean temperature is expected to push the temperature upward in the coming days.

Already, the global mean temperature for the 12 months of February 2023 to January 2024 was the highest on record, with Copernicus reporting that it was 1.52 °C above the 1850–1900 pre-industrial average, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

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