Vijayawada: The increase in number of deaths due to heatwave in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and other states in the nation points towards the need for considering the situation as a natural calamity by the National Disaster Management Authority and government of India.
It must be noted that having heatwave on the list of natural calamities would require the National Disaster Response Force and local administrations to take necessary precautions and conduct awareness campaigns as soon as the heatwave is predicted by the Indian Meteorology Department units in several states of the country. The awareness campaigns can help prevent deaths during such a situation. The National and state disaster response funds would also provide a compensation of Rs 1.5 lakh to the kin of victims, if it is recognised as a natural calamity.
According to IMD, heatwave prevailing over 460C carries increased chances of fatal sunstroke. It may be noted that over 1,000 persons have died due to heatwave in the country over the last few days and a majority of them are from AP and Telangana. While a proposal in 2013 by the then NDMA vice-chairman M. Shashidhar Reddy to consider heatwave as a natural calamity could not materalise, coldwaves which claimed hundreds of lives in North India for three consecutive years was included in the list of natural calamities enabling the kin of victims to get financial assistance.
Meanwhile, one look at the death toll due to heatwave in recent years clearly indicates the urgent need to declare it as a natural calamity. While around 1,110 people died in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh in 2013, the number stood at around 447 in 2012.
However, even after realising the gravity of the situation, the VMC's health wing came out of the slumber only on Thursday to release a list of Dos and Don'ts during heatwave conditions in the interest of public safety.
“The increasing temperature is an indication of increase in average temperature in city in future. The government needs to consider this as a serious issue and give priority to the disaster which is taking the lives of hundreds every year", said a senior citizen K. Francis....
Location: Andhra Pradesh