Expert Shares Action Plan to Mitigate Ill Effects of Heat Wave

Hyderabad: In response to the escalating threat of deadly heat waves in Telangana, Dr Narasimha Reddy Donthi, a prominent environmental activist and researcher, put forth a comprehensive set of recommendations aimed at mitigating the adverse impacts of extreme heat on the state’s population.

With temperatures soaring to alarming levels and reports of heat-related fatalities on the rise, Dr Donthi's proposed Heat Wave Action Plan (HWAP) sought to address the urgent need for proactive measures to safeguard vulnerable communities.

Drawing from years of research and advocacy, Dr Donthi, in his letter to the TS Chief Secretary A. Santhi Kumari, detailed the gravity of the situation, highlighting the recurring nature of heat waves and their devastating effects on rural areas, where access to resources and infrastructure is limited. He emphasised that the current crisis is not merely a seasonal phenomenon but a long-term challenge worsened by climate change, as evidenced by projections of higher-than-global temperatures for India.

Dr Donthi's recommendations, grounded in evidence-based research and stakeholder consultations, encompassed a wide range of interventions spanning multiple sectors. Central to the HWAP is the early identification of vulnerable populations, including daily wage workers, children, and the elderly, who are disproportionately affected by heat-related illnesses and fatalities. To this end, he proposed the establishment of rapid response teams equipped to provide emergency medical support and evacuation services in remote and inaccessible areas.

Moreover, Dr Donthi advocate for a holistic approach to heat wave management, involving not only the health department but also other key sectors such as agriculture, rural development, and civil supplies. He stressed the importance of community engagement and the utilisation of traditional knowledge and practices, such as the establishment of 'ragi ambali kendras' (centres providing nutritious beverages), to enhance resilience at the grassroots level.

In addition to proactive measures, he called for a paradigm shift in disaster relief frameworks to accommodate the unique challenges posed by heat waves. He proposed the development of specific criteria for identifying heat wave-related fatalities and ensuring timely compensatory relief to affected families and stressed the need for comprehensive data collection and documentation to inform evidence-based decision-making and policy formulation.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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