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No Respite From Heat Wave In Large Parts Of India, Barmer Sizzles At 48.8 Degrees Celsius

According to the Central Water Commission, water storage in 150 major reservoirs in India plunged to their lowest level in five years last week

No respite from heat wave in large parts of India, Barmer sizzles at 48.8 degrees C
Maximum temperatures settled at 46.6 degrees in Madhya Pradesh's Guna

New Delhi: Large parts of India sweltered under a heat wave for the seventh day on the trot on Thursday (May 23), with the mercury soaring to 48.8 degrees Celsius in Rajasthan’s Barmer, the highest temperature recorded in the country this year so far. Official data showed that at least 16 places in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh recorded maximum temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius or above on Thursday.

The brutal heat wave will continue for at least five more days, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

In Rajasthan, Churu logged a high of 47.4 degrees Celsius, Phalodi 47.8 degrees, and Jaisalmer 47.2 degrees.

Maximum temperatures settled at 46.6 degrees in Madhya Pradesh’s Guna, 45.9 degrees in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad, 45 degrees in Uttar Pradesh’s Orai, 45.4 degrees each in Punjab’s Bathinda and Haryana’s Sirsa.

However, in Delhi, the maximum temperature dipped slightly on Thursday but remained around a notch above the normal for this time of the year. The IMD said the maximum temperature was recorded 0.8 notch above normal at 41 degrees Celsius.

Also Read: Wear Loose Clothes, Avoid Stepping Out During Heatwave: Health Experts

The Met office issued a ‘red’ warning for Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, and west Uttar Pradesh, emphasising a “very high likelihood” of heat illness and heatstroke in all ages.

It said warm night conditions could further exacerbate heat-related stress in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Rajasthan over the next three days.

High night temperatures are considered dangerous because the body doesn’t get a chance to cool down. Increasing nighttime heat is more common in cities because of the urban heat island effect, in which metro areas are significantly hotter than their surroundings.

The punishing heat is straining power grids and drying up water bodies, triggering drought-like conditions in parts of the country.

According to the Central Water Commission, water storage in 150 major reservoirs in India plunged to their lowest level in five years last week, exacerbating water shortages in many states and significantly affecting hydropower generation.

Severe and frequent heat waves are further burdening low-income households in the country, which often have poor access to water and cooling, and testing the endurance of outdoor workers toiling in the searing sun, forcing them to take frequent breaks.

Also Read: Heat And Health: There Is A Link

Experts say outdoor workers, the elderly, and children are at higher risk of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1,66,000 people died as a result of heat waves between 1998 and 2017.

India reported 3,812 deaths due to heat waves between 2015 and 2022, with Andhra Pradesh alone logging 2,419 fatalities, the government told Parliament in July last year.

People are less productive during hot weather, and children struggle to learn.

Shyamal Santra of the NGO Transform Rural India said studies show that students perform worse in tests when they experience a ‘hot school year’ compared to a ‘cool school year’.

“With 15 per cent of government schools in India not having a functional electricity connection and many being single-classroom schools, heat waves disproportionately affect rural educational outcomes,” he said.

In the absence of adequate cold-chain infrastructure, extreme heat can cause major damage to fresh produce.

Studies show India faces food losses worth USD 13 billion a year, with only four per cent of fresh produce covered by cold chain facilities.

Also Read: Climate Crisis Made Crippling April Heat Wave In South Asia 45 Times More Likely: Scientists

According to a World Bank report, India could account for 34 million of the projected 80 million global job losses from heat stress-associated productivity decline by 2030.

With 75 per cent of workers in India experiencing heat-related stress, lost labour from rising heat and humidity could result in a loss of up to 4.5 per cent of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (equivalent to approximately USD 150-250 billion) by the end of this decade, according to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute.

(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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