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Extreme Heat To Scorch India During Election Period, Says IMD

Union Minister for Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju said India is anticipated to experience extreme weather conditions in the upcoming two-and-a-half months during which around a billion people are expected to exercise their franchise in the general elections

Extreme Heat To Scorch India During Election Period, Says IMD
Above-normal heatwave days are likely over most parts in the plains during April-June

New Delhi: India is set to experience extreme heat during the April to June period, with the central and the western peninsular parts expected to face the worst impact, the IMD said on Monday as the country prepares for the seven-phase general elections starting April 19.

Addressing a press conference, Union Minister for Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju said India is anticipated to experience extreme weather conditions in the upcoming two-and-a-half months and this coincides with the general elections in which around a billion people are expected to exercise their franchise. He said,

It is going to be very challenging for all of us. Since we are the most populous country in the world and face extreme weather conditions, it makes it absolutely necessary for India to prepare in advance.

Also Read: Odisha Special Relief Commissioner Calls For Heatwave Contingency Plans Ahead Of Elections

India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said the anticipated increase in outdoor activities during the 2024 general elections could heighten public vulnerability to heat waves.

With greater exposure, there’s an elevated risk of heatwave-related health issues among the electorate and election staff, he said.

The IMD chief said above-normal maximum temperatures are likely over most parts of the country during the April-June period, with a high probability over central and western peninsular India.

Normal to below-normal maximum temperatures are likely over some parts of the western Himalayan region, northeastern states and north Odisha, he said.

Above-normal heatwave days are likely over most parts in the plains during April-June. Ten to 20 days of heat wave are expected in different parts of the country against a normal of four to eight days, he added.

Mr Mohapatra said Gujarat, central Maharashtra, north Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, north Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh are likely to experience the worst impact of heat waves.

Though El Nino conditions — the periodic warming of waters in the central Pacific Ocean — are weakening, these will continue during April and May, according to the IMD chief. He added,

It is in agreement with the forecast of above-normal maximum temperatures and heatwave conditions in India.

Also Read: India To See Warmer Summer, More Heatwave Days This Year: India Meteorological Department

The prevailing El Nino conditions fuelled record temperatures and extreme events the world over, with 2023 being the warmest on record. El Nino is associated with unusually dry and warm conditions over southeast Asia.

La Nina conditions — associated with bountiful monsoon rain in India — are likely to set in by the second half of the monsoon season, the IMD said.

The Met office said above-normal maximum temperatures are likely over most parts of the country in April, with a high probability over central south India.

Normal to below-normal maximum temperatures are likely over some parts of the western Himalayan region and northeastern states in April, the IMD said.

Above-normal heatwave days are likely over many areas in central India and the adjoining areas of the northern plains and south India in April, it said. Mr Mohapatra said.

Two to eight days of heat wave are expected in these regions against a normal of one to three days.

Gujarat, Maharashtra, north Karnataka, Odisha, west Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh are predicted to experience the worst impact of heat waves in April.

The IMD said the country is “most likely” to gauge normal rainfall (88-112 per cent of the long-period average of 39.2 mm) in April. Mr Mohapatra said,

Normal to above-normal rainfall is likely over most parts of the northwest, and some parts of central and north peninsular India. Below-normal rainfall is likely over the east and the west coasts, parts of east, northeast and south peninsular India.

Elevated temperatures pose significant risks, especially for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children and those with pre-existing health conditions as they are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke, the IMD said.

Lok Sabha polls in India will take place in seven phases between April 19 and June 1.

Also Read: World Health Organization Urges Governments To Set Up Surveillance For People At Risk From Heatwaves

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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