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  • Vanshika Joshi

HEATWAVE HAVOC- HEAT STROKES CLAIM LIVES AND DEVASTATE THE HUMAN LIFE

Vanshika Joshi,

NMIMS, Kirit P. Mehta School of Law, Mumbai

HEATWAVE HAVOC- HEAT STROKES CLAIM LIVES AND DEVASTATE THE HUMAN LIFE

LEAD-

In the midst of a protracted heatwave and devastating floods, the summer of 2024 in India killed over 100 lives and negatively impacted the health of others. Because of the extreme heat, over 40,000 suspected cases of heatstroke have been documented.

BODY-

The northern regions have also seen the temperature rose up to 50° Celsius which is reported to be recorded as one of the longest recorded spells. All of which has also resulted in first of many heat waves related deaths. Up until June 18th 2024, India had recorded 40,272 suspected cases and 110 deaths linked to heat stroke. Due to the nature of the physically demanding outdoor labour involved in agriculture, the majority of cases and fatalities were recorded from rural India. In addition, compared to towns and cities, rural India still suffers from inadequate health facilities. This year's heatwaves have been particularly severe; in mid-May, red alerts were issued in a number of states, affecting both urban and rural areas. Healthcare institutions are under a great deal of strain due to the severity, frequency, and duration of heatwaves, as well as an increase in heat-related disorders. The unrelenting heatwaves are causing unprecedented levels of devastation in their wake as global temperatures rise. Formerly lively towns have been reduced to suffocating infernos by the scorching sun, where the oppressive heat has taken on a life of its own. The number of people dying from heat strokes is alarmingly high, transforming once-bustling streets into abandoned communities. Heatwaves are becoming hotter and more frequent not only in India but also worldwide due to climate change, which is mostly brought on by the combustion of fossil fuels and made worse by interference of human activities further resulting in human induced climate change. Narrowing our focus on India, India's summer school closures were prompted by extreme heat. At least 37 cities had temperatures above 45ºC. In certain places, nighttime temperatures of 36°C were sustained. The intense humidity that characterizes heat in India makes it more hazardous to human health. Elevated humidity levels increase the risk of heat stroke and other potentially fatal disorders because they hinder the body's ability to cool itself through perspiration. The populace is exposed to conditions that are beyond human tolerance due to the combination of extreme heat and humidity, which can be fatal.

Few non-negotiable measures which must be taken by every individual in order to protect oneself from any heat waves related health issues are-

-To stay hydrated, sip lots of water throughout the day.

- Wear airy, airy-coloured, and loose clothing.

- Urban areas can see a decrease in temperature and an increase in shade by planting more trees and green spaces. By doing this, the "urban heat island" effect can be reduced.

- To reduce body temperature, take regular chilly showers or baths.

- Consume light, cool meals and avoid heavy, hot foods.

- One must always pay attention to heat wave alerts and weather forecasts.

- Avoid physically demanding outdoor activities during the hours of maximum heat.

-Make sure that sick, elderly, and children are kept safe. Providing targeted support to such vulnerable sections of the society.

-Heat-related illnesses can be avoided with the support of public health campaigns that promote frequent hydration and the consumption of water rich food.

-Use bandanas, cooling vests, or other cooling devices to help them cool off.

-Observe fellow coworkers for symptoms of heat exhaustion and urge them to take breaks.

-People must actively engage in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to protect the health and safety of the workers during intense heat waves.

In addition to serving as a tool to lessen the negative health consequences of heat waves, all of these initiatives will raise the value of human resources, which will raise people's productivity and aid in the nation's continued economic development and growth.

CONCLUSION-

This serves as a reminder that drastic changes are needed to lessen the heat island effect. India's urban population is extremely vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change on their health and productivity. If any collective action is not taken extreme heat events like this one will occur more frequently and get hotter. The temperature will climb, and the number of fatalities will keep rising quickly and it will be beyond human control. Heat waves are becoming more common and stronger due to climate change. Another reminder of which is the year 2024.

References-

1.      Livemint (2024) Heatwave: 56 heat-related deaths, 25,000 heatstroke cases reported in India from March to may: Today news, mint. Available at: https://www.livemint.com/news/india/heatwave-56-related-deaths-reported-in-india-from-march-to-may-25-000-heat-stroke-cases-odisha-20-deaths-in-may-11717401959354.html.

2.      Heatwave deaths in India: Heatstroke claims over 50 lives; check states where casualties were reported: Today news (2024) mint. Available at: https://www.livemint.com/news/india/heatstroke-claims-over-50-lives-in-india-check-states-where-heatwave-related-deaths-were-reported-delhi-up-bihar-up-11717150373680.html.  

3.      Heatwave kills at least 56 in India, nearly 25,000 heat stroke cases from March to may  https://www.channelnewsasia.com/sustainability/india-heatwave-heat-stroke-deaths-march-may-4382201.

4.      Summer of ’24: India’s Heatwave turns deadly with over 100 deaths, 40,000 suspected heatstroke cases (no date) The Economic Times. Available at: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/summer-of-24-indias-heatwave-turns-deadly-with-over-100-deaths-40000-suspected-heatstroke-cases/articleshow/111127851.cms.  

5.      Sebastian, M. (2024) India summer: Eight more die as country faces ‘longest’ heatwave, BBC News. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/cz77jkk420lo.

6.      Heatstroke killed 46 persons in May: Govt Data (2024) Hindustan Times. Available at: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/heatstroke-killed-46-persons-in-may-govt-data-101717316428194.html.

8.      Heatwave directly impact your stomach, heart and other organs, says doctors (2022) India Today. Available at: https://www.indiatoday.in/health/story/heatwave-affect-stomach-heart-other-organs-says-doctors-1962744-2022-06-15.

9.      Riya Sharma / TNN / May 24, 2024 #heatwave: How to beat the Heat(stroke) - times of India, The Times of India. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/heatwave-how-to-beat-the heatstroke/articleshow/110369808.cms.

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