Last year, India’s meteorological bureau said that the country had its warmest March since 1901, when temperatures were first recorded. According to a new Cambridge University research, 90% of the country has been at heightened danger of starvation, loss of income, or early mortality during record-breaking heat waves, which are growing more regular as a result of climate change.
Although April, May, and June are traditionally the warmest months in India, excessive heat has started coming earlier in recent years. Over 60% of India saw above-normal high temperatures in March.
The impact of heat waves grows in proportion to their frequency and intensity. According to long-term forecasts, Indian heat waves might exceed the survival limit for a healthy individual resting in the shade by 2050.
Women are the most affected group. According to a research by HomeNet South Asia, a regional network of home-based workers, 43% of women polled reported a loss of income and an increase in caring as a result of the excessive heat.
Another 2014 study concluded that during a heat wave in Ahmedabad in 2010, when temperatures reached 47.8°C (118°F), more mothers perished, and heat-related hospital admissions of babies rose by 43%.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the total length of heat waves has grown by roughly three days in the previous 30 years and is anticipated to increase by another 12 to 18 days by 2060.
This has pushed the Indian government, including local authorities, to develop better prevention strategies. In 2013, Ahmedabad became the first city to implement a Heat Action Plan (HAP), a guide for emergency responses to heat waves. The city has subsequently reduced the number of heat-related deaths by more than 1,000 each year.
On a national level, the India Cooling Action Plan, which outlines cooling measures to deal with rising heat over the next two decades, has also suffered from a lack of funding.
“Parametric insurance” has lately developed as a novel approach to assist protect women’s finances and health. Workers can earn compensation under this scheme on days of high heat, allowing them to avoid working in hazardous situations.
Several local collectives in Ahmedabad, like the Self Employed Women’s Association and the Mahila Housing Trust, are experimenting with “parametric insurance.” Global Parametrics of London has collaborated with them to create an initiative in which varied heat levels result in different payouts. It is scheduled to be implemented in three cities by next year.
Reference- Global Parametrics of London website, Time Magazine, National Geographic, HomeNet South Asia Report, Cambridge University Rsearch