News about heat wave related death is pouring in almost every hour. The unofficial death toll now pegs it over 1000. With the Indian Meteorological Department indicating that temperature will continue to remain this high for at least another week, the fear of more deaths looms very large.
What is essentially worrying is the huge loss in lives. Be it summers or winters, almost every year with clock-work precision lives are lost due to exposure to the heat or the cold wave. With a significant extent of the country exposed to extreme weather, these seasonal deaths are almost reaching epic proportion. How exactly is the Govt machinery geared to tackle this issue. Importantly will any solution on a piece meal basis sufficient to address this problem.
I think it isn’t sufficient. Instead of providing the water tank supplies or the medical camps in response to the mounting death, it is extremely important for the Govt to look at taking proactive and preventive measures that an actually help rein in the loss in life.
For example one of the Govt directive happens to be staying indoors between 9 am and 4 pm in the affected region. While this could be a great plan for the urban populace, the question is how people who work avoid going out. More importantly vast stretches of the affected regions are without electricity , in that case staying indoors could be as oppressive. Instead if every village is equipped with a shelter home with enough ventilation, it might serve as a lasting solution both in summers and winters.
While medical camps and water tanks are the need of the hour, sufficient awareness campaigns and programmes need to kick off well ahead of time and force people if need be to take precautionary measures.
The heightened use of air conditioners in the urban region also puts a huge pressure on national power grid. A country that is no stranger to huge electricity failures, more effort needs to be directed towards tapping the solar energy and also device ways to reduce the emission of green house gases.
We have no control on the weather conditions, many experts believe that this year’s unseasonal rains did not allow auto acclimatisation of the body to the heat. Well these might be plausible but that does not justify the lack of preparedness that is so blatant. More steps need to be taken towards proactive measures rather than reactive steps provided on ad hoc basis.