AP and Telangana sizzle as mercury soars

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 15, 2018

Temperatures are a couple of notches above normal for the third consecutive year in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.   -  CV Subrahmanyam

Govts unveil action plans, put out guidelines

As searing heat cuts through large swathes of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the mercury is hovering around 45 degrees Celsius. Temperatures are a couple of notches above normal for the third consecutive year.

Will it be a repeat of the summer of 2015, when a killer heatwave took nearly 2,300 lives? Are the two Telugu states better equipped to meet the challenge this time?

Ominous forecast

The forecast by the weatherman is ominous. The IMD has warned that heatwave conditions will prevail across many districts and temperatures will be at least two degrees above normal. Latest reports say that a dozen people have succumbed to the effect of the blazing sun. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao has declared early holidays to all schools from today.

As TS Eliot said in Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, this April is proving to be a ‘cruel month’. Mercifully, a short spell of rain is predicted towards the end of the month, but the harsher month of May offers no such respite. While Hyderabad is reeling, with day temperatures touching 43 degrees, the usual hotspots of Ramagundem, Khammam and Nizamabad in Telangana and cities such as Vijayawada, Guntur, Kadapa and Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh are also sizzling at 43-44 degrees.The two state governments have announced action plans with the help the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to tackle the situation and put out guidelines advising people on survival measures.

Global warming?

There is a growing belief that the unusually high casualty of 2,300 lives in the two states during April-May 2015 could be the fallout of global warming.

A scientific study has, in fact, attributed it to climate change. Global warming has increased the likelihood of a heat wave in the region from being a once-in-a-hundered-year event to a once-in-a-decade event.

Unless mitigation measures are taken, it can recur at shorter frequencies, the study said. The study, ‘Raising Risk Awareness,’ undertaken by think tanks in several countries and presented at a conference in New Delhi in February found evidence linking extreme heat waves to human-induced climate change.

At a workshop organised by CMS-Vatavaran, Ministry of Environment & Forests and German Institute in Hyderabad in April, several experts voiced concern over severe droughts, farmers suicides, climbing temperatures, rising pollution and all contributing to climate change.

Since 2012, sun stroke has claimed nearly 6,000 lives in the two states. The most vulnerable groups are the aged, children, women, farm labourers and those living in slums.

The NDMA has said heatwave claimed around 20,000 lives across the country in the last two decades.

Published on April 20, 2017

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