Friday, May 27, 2022

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Weather meet holds much meaning amid severe heat wave

Amid several parts of the country reeling under severe heat waves with the mercury crossing 45 degrees Celsius at a number of places and the south-west monsoon likely to set in over Kerala on May 27, well ahead of its normal date of June 1, as announced by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reviewed the situation with regard to the heat wave and monsoon related preparedness.

Criteria for declaring heat wave

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), heat wave is considered if maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40 degree Celsius or more for plains and at least 30 degree Celsius or more for hilly regions. Normal heat wave is called when departure from normal temperature is 4.5 degree Celsius to 6.40 degree Celsiusand severe heatwave is called when departure from normal is more than 6.4 degree Celsius. Heat waves are normally the result of trapped air. The air is often trapped due to high-pressure systems. Heat waves adversely affect human and animal lives.

Period of heat wave in India

Heat waves occur mainly during March to June and in some rare cases even in July. The peak month of the heat wave over India is May. Heat wave generally occurs over plains of northwest India, Central, East & north Peninsular India during March to June. It covers Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, parts of Maharashtra & Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana. Sometimes it occurs over Tamilnadu & Kerala also.

Guidelines issued by the government for children

Ministry of Education issued following guidelines regarding precautions to be observed by schools to combat the ill-effects of the heat-wave. Modifications in school timings and daily routine have been made. School hours may start early and get over before noon. Several Do’s and Don’ts for students have also been conveyed to the educational institutions.

Monsoon, 2022 is likely to be normal

The meeting reviewed the State of Disaster Management Plans (SDMP’s) of the 19 States/Union Territories. Discussion was held on ensuring functionality of State Emergency Operation Centres and District Emergency Operation Centres (DEOCs) 24X7, 365 days a year. The IMD informed that the forecast of the South-West Monsoon, 2022 is likely to be normal. NDRF has already in consultation with states/union territories planned for pre-monsoon deployment for most vulnerable areas with respect to flooding.

PM held the first meeting

Based on the recommendations of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5th of May, 2022, adoption of the concept of Decision Support System with Integrated Flood Early Warning System was discussed. The need to adopt this system which can help in reduction of urban floods to a great extent, especially if adopted by municipal bodies of these states was emphasised. Danger and warning levels of reservoirs and dams was also reviewed and the need for timely checks was emphasised.

Flooding of sand mines and coal mines

The new emerging threats of flooding of sand mines and coal mines were also discussed along with the deployment of Aapda Mitra volunteers to help manage disasters at various levels in districts and states. Timely procurement and storing of gears and equipment was also taken care of. Impact based urban flood forecasting and areas prone to flash floods were also highlighted.

Flood Hazard Zonation Atlas

Efforts of NRSC in preparation of ‘Flood Hazard Zonation Atlas’ of various states were also deliberated upon. Use of Damini App and various Google alerts for effective early warning dissemination was emphasised to achieve a target of zero mortality in the coming monsoon season.

Attended by all important agencies

The review meeting was attended by officers and scientists from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Central Water Commission (CWC), Integrated Defence Staff, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Indian Coast Guard, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs along with the Resident Commissioners of 19 flood prone states/union territories.

WMO’s figures are alarming

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), floods, droughts and cyclones have cost India around 87 billion dollar in 2020. India was the second most affected country from the impact of global warming on lives and property after China, which lost 238 billion dollar. Droughts cause the maximum damage.

2020 was the warmest year for Asia

2020 was the warmest year on record for Asia, with a mean temperature at 1.39 degrees Celsius above the average of the 1981-2010 period, said the report of the WMO. The report also highlighted the extent of the global climate crisis.

Floods cause the maximum damage

Floods cause the maximum damage among all natural disasters in India. Between 1980 and 2017, India experienced 235 floods, leading to 126,286 deaths and affected 1.93 billion people. The economic losses due to floods stood at a humongous 58.7 billion dollar. Floods in India are also the costliest among disasters, accounting for around 68% of economic losses caused by all disasters.

Floods account for over 40% deaths

As per the data provided in the Rajya Sabha in 2018, the economic losses due to floods in India was at approximately Rs 95,000 crores and unfortunately 1,808 people lost their lives. Altogether, floods account for over 40% of the deaths out of all natural disasters in India. Floods negatively impact economic growth also.

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