HYDERABAD: The heat wave toll in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has crossed an unprecedented 2,000 mark and the website of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has categorised heat wave under ‘natural calamities’.
But is heat wave a natural calamity? Though it appears so on the face of it, officials say it hasn’t been declared as such. In fact they believe that the new ‘blinker’ in NDMA website is only meant to attract public attention to an ‘advisory.’
If the heat wave is officially declared a natural calamity, a compensation of at least Rs 1.5 lakh would be given to the kin of the victims.
“Declaring heat wave as a natural calamity only means victims can get compensation on a par with victims of other disasters,” explained former NDMA vice-chairman M Shashidhar Reddy, who had forwarded the proposal to include heat wave under natural calamities. According to Reddy, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had expressed reservations over inclusion of heat wave in the list claiming that it was difficult to detect deaths caused by heat wave.
In Karimnagar, Telangana, where 97 persons have died due to the heat wave, the district medical and health officer Mohammad Alim admitted that the department had received no instruction from the government to conduct autopsy and decide the cause of deaths.