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Number of heat waves across India 2010-2019

About 157 heat waves were recorded across India in 2019, a significant increase compared to the previous year. These were more intense in the northern regions of the country in recent years, coinciding with droughts, water shortage and an already inadequate infrastructure.

The impact of heatwaves

Illnesses and deaths were an obvious consequence of the impact of heat waves in India. With record breaking heat year after year, temperatures were recorded in the high 40s and low 50 degree Celsius. For comparison, core human temperatures of 40 degree Celsius are categorized as fever, requiring medical attention. In extreme cases, permanent brain damage can occur, or death.

Precaution and mitigation

Inconsistent rains or unmitigated torrential rains, along with depleting groundwater reserves and droughts have led to severe water shortages across vast areas of the country, leading to a dependence on water tankers. These include cities like Chennai, Coimbatore, parts of Jharkhand, and Madhya Pradesh.
India’s National Disaster Management Authority aims to keep heat related deaths at single digits in 2020. Measures to achieve that include increasing public awareness and distributing free water. In parts of Rajasthan, advisory actions were followed by pouring water onto asphalt roads to prevent them from melting in summer 2020.

Average number of heat waves across India from 2010 to 2019

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Sources

Release date

March 2020

Region

India

Survey time period

2010 to 2019

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Statistics on "Environment of India"

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