Led by the Prime Minister, India prepares to combat heat wave
Global warming and climate change may induce a heat wave in India in 2023, just like the year before. The heat wave will be experienced between March and May and will impact many sectors. A key impact of the 2022 heat wave was on wheat production. The agriculture sector continues to be most vulnerable this year as well. Early preparations for withstanding the heat wave are ongoing.
The National Disaster Management Authority of the Government of India has already conducted several workshops on heat wave. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also chaired a high-level meeting recently to review the preparedness for hot weather in upcoming summer. Prime Minister was briefed about the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) weather forecast for the next few months and informed about the likelihood of a normal monsoon this year.
He was also briefed about the impact of weather on rabi crops and the expected yield of major crops for this year. The efforts underway to monitor irrigation water supply, fodder and drinking water were also reviewed. The Prime Minister was also briefed on the preparedness of states and hospital infrastructure in terms of availability of required supplies and preparedness for emergencies.
Heat wave have an unusually high impact on the more vulnerable populations including the elderly who often need health care support to tide over the symptoms. The Prime Minister was updated on various efforts underway across the country to prepare for disasters related to heat and mitigation measures in place.
The Prime Minister made several observations and suggestions for better preparing for the summer of 2023. He asked for separate awareness material to be prepared for different stakeholders including citizens, medical professionals, municipal & panchayat authorities;,disaster response teams, firefighters and the likes.
It was also instructed to incorporate multimedia lecture sessions in schools to sensitize children towards better dealing with extreme heat conditions. Prime Minister said that protocols and dos and donts for hot weather should be prepared in accessible formats, and various other modes of publicity like jingles, films, pamphlets etc. should be prepared and issued.
The Prime Minister has asked the IMD to issue daily weather forecasts in a manner which can be easily interpreted and disseminated. It was also discussed that TV news channels, FM radio etc. could spend a few minutes daily to explain weather forecast in a manner which would allow citizens to take necessary precautions.
Prime Minister stressed on the need for detailed fire audits of all hospitals and mock fire drills to be done in all hospitals by firefighters. The need for a coordinated effort to deal with forest fires was also pointed out. It was discussed that systemic changes should be made to support efforts to prevent and tackle forest fires.
The Prime Minister instructed that availability of fodder and of water in reservoirs should be regularly tracked. Food Corporation of India has also been asked to prepare to ensure optimal storage of grains in extreme weather conditions. The Prime Minister was joined by Principal Secretary to the PM, Cabinet Secretary, Home Secretary, Secretary M/o Health & Family Welfare, Secretary D/o Agriculture & Farmer Welfare, Secretary M/o Earth Sciences and Member Secretary, NDMA in the meeting.