The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has taken proactive steps by submitting a comprehensive heat action plan to the central government to address the escalating challenges posed by extreme heat events in the capital city. The plan, designed to reduce the health impacts on vulnerable populations, encompasses a range of measures aimed at preparedness, information-sharing, and coordinated response.
The pilot project introduced by DDMA proposes several adaptive strategies to combat extreme heat during peak summers. Among these measures, the alteration of school timings, suspension of non-essential water use, and ensuring uninterrupted power supply to health facilities are envisioned. Additionally, the daily survey of vulnerable locations and the application of white paint on roofs in identified areas are part of the strategy to mitigate the adverse effects of extreme heat.
Recognizing Delhi’s status as one of India’s hottest cities and its susceptibility to heat waves due to a high population density and significant concentration of lower-income groups, the DDMA’s initiative takes into account the urgent need for preparedness and response.
Climate change has contributed to the intensification and frequency of heat waves, making initiatives like DDMA’s heat action plan imperative. Previous heat waves have resulted in significant loss of life, highlighting the importance of a coordinated approach to safeguarding vulnerable populations.
The plan’s reliance on heat wave forecasts from the India Meteorological Department for issuing alerts demonstrates a data-driven approach to decision-making. By categorizing alerts based on temperature deviations, the plan aims to provide early warnings to the public and facilitate appropriate responses.
Importantly, the heat action plan underscores the significance of equipping identified thermal hotspots with the necessary infrastructure to cope with extreme heat. This includes expanding access to potable water, especially in religious places and transit stations, and the suspension of non-essential water uses during water shortages.
The DDMA’s proposal for an annual update of the heat action plan emphasizes the adaptability required to address evolving challenges associated with extreme heat events. The assignment of a Sub-Divisional Magistrate as the nodal officer for implementation ensures a focused approach to execution.
In a broader context, the DDMA’s proactive approach serves as a model for other regions facing similar challenges due to climate change. By developing and implementing such comprehensive strategies, governments can enhance their resilience and responsiveness to the growing threats posed by extreme heat events.