India may experience hotter weather over the coming months, stoking concerns of a repetition of last year’s strong heat wave, which could damage crops and put more strain on the country’s power grid.
According to S.C. Bhan, a senior scientist at India’s meteorological department, the weather office forecasts an increased probability of heat waves in most parts of the country during the three months ending May 31, Bloomberg reported.
According to the report, the farm ministry established a commission to evaluate the impact on the wheat crop, which is anticipated to hit a record this year, after an early beginning of hot weather drove electricity usage to almost record levels. The grain harvest in India last year was scorched by the country’s warmest March in more than a century, which compelled the government to curb exports, the report added.
The weather office said that the country’s monthly average maximum temperatures for February were the highest since 1901. Except for the peninsular region, temperatures in March are projected to be above average in most areas, which is critical for the wheat crop, which is at a vulnerable stage.
Heat waves might reduce wheat production in India for a second year in a row, undermining attempts to keep local food prices under control. Just after China, India is the second-largest producer. A lower output could result in continued export restrictions, keeping the world market competitive.
Health Ministry Highlights ‘Dos And Don’ts’ For Protection Against Heat Wave:
Facing unusually high temperatures in several parts of the country, the Union Health Ministry issued an advisory on Tuesday outlining the dos and don’ts for preparing for the upcoming heat wave.
The list of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ follows the India Meteorological Department’s first heat warning for 2023.
As part of a nationwide action plan to combat heat-related illness, the ministry has recommended individuals to avoid eating high-protein foods and cooking during peak summer hours, as well as staying out of the sun, particularly between 12 noon and 3 pm.
The government also advised individuals to drink plenty of water whenever possible, even if they were not thirsty.
It has also advised people to take Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS), drink homemade drinks such as lemon water, butter milk/lassi, fruit juices with a pinch of salt, and stay indoors in well-ventilated and cool areas.
Residents have also been advised to eat fresh fruits such as watermelon, cucumber, lemon, and orange, to wear thin, loose cotton garments, preferably light coloured ones, to cover their heads with an umbrella, hat, cap, towel, or other traditional head gear when exposed to direct sunlight, and to avoid going out barefoot.
The ministry also urged citizens to listen to the radio, read newspapers, and watch television for local weather updates, as well as keep an eye on the IMD’s website.
It has advised individuals to be on the lookout for “heat stress” symptoms such as dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, headache, severe thirst, decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine, and rapid breathing and heartbeat.
It said people should dial 108/102 immediately if they come across someone with a high body temperature who is either unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating.
“Never leave children or pets in a parked vehicle. The temperature inside a car could reach unsafe levels,” as per the advisory.
“Block direct sunlight and heat waves by keeping windows and drapes closed during the day, especially on the sunny side of your property. “If going outdoors, limit your outdoor activity to cooler times of the day, i.e., morning and evening,” it said.
The advisory also mentioned a “vulnerable population,” which included infants and young children, pregnant women, people working outside, people with mental illnesses, people who are physically ill, especially those with heart disease or high blood pressure, and people travelling from a cooler climate to a hot climate.
(With Inputs From Agencies)