THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the state being intimated about the likelihood of a heatwave, the Disaster Management Department (DMD) has decided to appoint nodal officers at the state, district and block levels. The officers are for better coordination of mitigation measures during extreme heat events.
While the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) member secretary will act as the state nodal officer, District Collectors will function as the respective district nodal officers. In the case of block level, it will be the Block Development Officers concerned who will be designated as the nodal officers.
“It was after considering a letter from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on March 7 that we decided to appoint nodal officers at the state, district and block levels. Their primary objective will be to coordinate and communicate with all the line departments during extreme heat events,” said a DMD officer.According to the officer, the NDMA in its letter had stated that the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had predicted a heatwave in the year having an onset before the usual period and extending for a prolonged period.
The letter, while intimating the SDMAs to ensure heatwave mitigation measures, including a ‘mulch-sectoral and multi-dimensional’ administrative activities, also calls for appointing nodal officers for coordinating the mitigation measures.“The KSDMA member secretary will act as the state nodal officer. In addition to that, he will also be authorised to review and monitor heatwave situations through video-conferencing at district or block levels,” said the officer.
Meanwhile, State Emergency Operations Centre state project officer Joe John George told ‘Express’ that the letter from the NDMA is meant for all states and not a state-specific one. He added that more than that of the heatwave, the state is more concerned about sunburn. “The letter from the NDMA is of a general one. Even the heatwave bulletin released by the IMD on Saturday predicts that the state for the next five days will have maximum temperatures of near normal. Heatwave is mostly meant for Jharkhand, most parts of Telangana, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu,” he said.
In February, the NDMA had conducted a two-day national workshop on preparedness, mitigation and management of heatwave in Vijayawada with all stakeholders resolving to work towards effectively mitigating the impact of the imminent heatwave this year.At the same time, the NDMA is of the opinion that heatwave-induced deaths in the country had come down significantly as it asked member states to adhere with its ‘Guidelines for Preparation of Action Plan - Prevention and Management of HeatWave’, released in 2016 and ‘17.
In its action plan for 2017, the NDMA observes that there has been an increasing trend of a heatwave in India over the past several years. Heatwave casualties have been put at 25,716 deaths from 1992 to 2016 in various states. Whereas the state governments reported 2,040 deaths in 2015 and 1,111 deaths in 2016. The heatwave had also resulted in casualties among wildlife, birds and poultry.
lIt is considered a heatwave if the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40 degree Celsius or more for plains, 37 degree Celsius or more for coastal stations and at least 30 degree Celsius or more for hilly regions
lIt is a heatwave when the actual temperature is greater than 45 degree Celsius
lIt is a severe heatwave when the actual temperate is greater than 47 degree Celsius
lAccording to the IMD, in order to declare a heatwave, the above criteria should be met at least in two stations in a meteorological sub-division for at least two consecutive days and then the place concerned will be declared as heatwave-affected on the second day itself.