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Friday, April 12 2024
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Karnataka Braces for Severe Heatwave Conditions

Heat Wave
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As scorching temperatures grip Karnataka, weather agencies warn of worsening conditions in the coming days. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a heatwave outlook for March to May, indicating above-normal heatwaves throughout the state.

According to IMD projections, Karnataka is expected to experience 12-15 heatwave days during this period, with North Interior Karnataka (NIK) bearing the brunt of the extreme weather. A heatwave, defined as abnormally high temperatures, poses significant health risks and adverse effects on agriculture, livestock, and water resources.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that 15 out of Karnataka’s 31 districts are vulnerable to heatwaves, particularly in the NIK region. Climatological data reveals a consistent trend of high temperatures, with 24 districts regularly surpassing 40°C, the threshold for declaring a heatwave-impacted area.

While coastal and Malnad regions benefit from maritime air, mitigating extreme temperatures, NIK districts are prone to frequent high-temperature days. Despite the increasing severity of heatwaves and their detrimental impact on various sectors, heatwaves are not classified as natural disasters under the National Disaster Management Act 2005, leading to inadequate governmental measures to address them.

Experts emphasize the urgent need for both short-term and long-term strategies to tackle heatwave challenges. Kalaburagi-based economist Sangeetha Kattimani describes heatwaves as “silent disasters” with far-reaching consequences on health, productivity, and regional development.

In response to the looming crisis, the Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority and Revenue Department have drafted the ‘Karnataka State Heatwave Action Plan 2024-25’. The plan outlines measures to minimize the impact of excessive heat on humans, including changes in office timings in NIK districts.

Despite these efforts, implementation remains a challenge, with government orders for changes in office hours pending for four years. While authorities assure provisions for drinking water and relief measures, challenges persist, as witnessed by reports of dehydration and scarcity of affordable alternatives.

As Karnataka grapples with soaring temperatures and impending heatwaves, there is a pressing need for comprehensive strategies and effective implementation to safeguard public health and mitigate the adverse effects on various sectors.

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