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To: Amit Shah, Union Home Minister

More than 26,000 deaths! Recognize Heat waves as 'Natural Calamity'

More than 26,000 deaths! Recognize Heat waves as 'Natural Calamity'

1. Include Heat waves as an eligible 'Natural Calamity' in the guidelines for relief assistance/compensation under the National Disaster Response Fund.
2. Direct the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to work with Indian Meteorological Department, to add factors such as humidity and locale specific factors, to IMD's threshold for declaring heat wave.
3. Direct NDMA to work with Union Health Ministry to improve its protocol for reporting and monitoring heat wave related casualties and illnesses.
4. Set a SOP for dealing with intense heat and ensure meticulous implementation of Heat Action Plan 2019 across the more than 15 affected states, for achieving the goal of Zero Heat wave related Mortality.

Why is this important?

The Issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUUfjuDxkeE?showEmbed=true

Heat waves are a phenomenon of abnormally high temperature conditions, which when goes beyond body’s adaptation capacity, can cause serious health complications and even death. Heat waves annually grip more than 15 states of the country for around two months.

As per the Government figures, from 1992 to 2019, heat waves have caused more than 26,000 deaths across the country. Most of these deaths have been recorded in the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Odisha. In 2015, more than 2000 deaths were recorded. To put it in perspective, heat waves account for the third highest number of deaths due to natural events, second only to lightening and earthquakes.

Heat waves can be predicted well in advance, and deaths can be avoided by implementing some simple adaptation measures. In absence of such measures, the outdoor workers like agricultural labourers, coastal community dwellers, and poor without adaptation capacities, face serious heat related health risks, which may even lead to deaths!

Extreme heat may also cause fatal dehydration among livestock and birds. In March 2019, dehydrated birds fell out of sky when Bengaluru temperature hit 37 degrees Celsius.

Every summer, parts of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Delhi, Telangana, and Maharashtra have been burning at 47-51 degrees Celsius. Research shows that heat waves will become harsher and deadlier due to climate change. In some regions like the Chota Nagpur Plateau, blazing summer temperatures may rise beyond the limits of survivability!! Despite such a high number of fatalities and their growing severity, heat waves are not recognized as a 'natural disaster' by the Government.

This not only affects the family of deceased who should get compensation but also obstructs a much needed national coordination to manage this annual disaster, which is experienced by more than 65% population of the country. It also impedes a much needed coordination amongst the Health Department, IMD and Local Governments, that will help in ensuring better preparedness for achieving the goal of Zero Heat wave related Mortality. Heat waves are easily predictable and deaths are avoidable, but if timely steps are not taken, we will keep losing human and animal lives to this 'silent' killer!

Solutions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbB_GRFOxFE?showEmbed=true


Reasons for signing

  • I signed this petition because of the reality of global warming and its harmful effects on ordinary human beings who live in homes with barely any ventilation or cooling system within their premises. I am deeply concerned about the deaths that a heat wave can cause with respect to suffering and deaths. Heat waves need to be recognized as a "natural calamity."
  • It have become a serious concern which is need yo be take into account.
  • This natural calamity has affected so many people including animals and has costed them their life, signing this petition is a small contribution towards a big step to make the government aware about this issue so that prominent steps can be taken

Updates

2020-05-19 13:42:30 +0530

500 signatures reached

2020-05-13 11:29:51 +0530

100 signatures reached

2020-05-12 12:18:52 +0530

50 signatures reached

2020-05-10 10:19:09 +0530

25 signatures reached

2020-05-08 23:51:21 +0530

10 signatures reached