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Heavy rains lash Mumbai, cause waterlogging and traffic jams

Rain lashed parts of Mumbai on Saturday morning, causing waterlogging and traffic snarls in several areas. The city has been experiencing heavy rains over the past few days…reports Asian Lite News

Mumbai received heavy rainfall on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, leading to severe waterlogging in various parts of the city.

The Andheri Subway was affected by the intense rain, and several areas, including the vicinity of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, were inundated.

The heavy downpour also led to severe traffic jams on the Western Express Highway.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a Nowcast warning for intense spells of rain at isolated places in the districts of Raigad and Thane for the next 3 to 4 hours on Sunday.

“Intense spells of rain are very likely to occur at isolated places in the districts of Raigad and Thane during the next 3-4 hours,” IMD Mumbai said in the early hours of Sunday.

Earlier, Mumbai’s civic authorities requested residents to avoid going out unless necessary as the IMD issued an orange alert for the city, predicting heavy to very heavy rain.

“The IMD has issued an orange alert (heavy to very heavy rain) for Mumbai. People are requested to avoid going out unless necessary,” the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said in a statement on Saturday.

An orange alert was also issued for Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri, and Sindhudurg districts in Maharashtra’s Konkan region.

Rain lashed parts of Mumbai on Saturday morning, causing waterlogging and traffic snarls in several areas. The city has been experiencing heavy rains over the past few days.

According to the IMD, the maximum and minimum temperatures in Mumbai are expected to be around 29 and 24 degrees Celsius, respectively.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has forecasted heavy to very heavy rainfall in the city and suburbs at a few places today.

The possibility of extremely heavy rainfall has also been predicted in isolated places. Occasional winds at a speed of 45 to 55 km per hour are also very likely.

Further, the BMC also predicted a warning of 3.17 metres high tides at 5:22 a.m. and 3.52 metres high tides at 5: 14 p.m.

Low Tides are predicted at 2.35 metres at 10: 47 a.m. and 1.60 metres at 11:57 p.m.

Additionally, the average rainfall recorded between yesterday morning and today morning is 115.81 mm.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department forecast moderate to intense spells of rain very likely to occur at isolated places in the districts of Mumbai, Sindhudurg and Ghat areas of Pune.

Previously, the Mumbai civic authority had requested the residents of the city to avoid going out and travelling unless very necessary, as the IMD had issued an orange alert for the city, predicting heavy to very heavy rainfall.

“The IMD has issued an orange alert (heavy to very heavy rain) for Mumbai today. People are requested to avoid going out unless necessary,” the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said in a statement.

An orange alert was also issued for the regions of Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri, and Sindhudurg districts in Maharashtra’s Konkan area.

Death toll rises to 91 in Assam floods

The flood situation in Assam has claimed 91 lives across the state, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said on Saturday.

Earlier, ASDMA said on Friday that the number of deaths in Assam floods has increased to 90. Seven more people died in the state on Friday, according to an ASDMA report.

According to the Disaster Reporting and Information Management System (DRIMS), the Brahmaputra River in Neamatighat, Tezpur, and Dhubri, the Burhi Dihing tributary in Chenimari (Khowang), the Disang River in Nanglamuraghat, and the Kushiyara River in Karimganj are flowing above danger levels.

Twenty-one districts in the state have been affected, including Cachar, Nalbari, Kamrup, Golaghat, Goalpara, Morigaon, Dibrugarh, Dhubri, Nagaon, Hailakandi, Dhemaji, Majuli, Sivasagar, South Salmara, Darrang, Karimganj, Barpeta, Kamrup (M), Biswanath, Chirang, and Jorhat.

While the flood situation in the state has been improving marginally, over 12.33 lakh people are still affected by the deluge.

A total of 2,406 villages under 75 revenue circles and 32,924.32 hectares of crop area were under water.

Dhubri district is the worst affected, with 3,18,326 people impacted, followed by 1,48,609 people in Cachar, 95,277 people in Golaghat, 88,120 people in Nagaon, 83,125 people in Goalpara, 82,494 in Majuli, 73,662 people in Dhemaji, and 63,400 people in South Salmara district.

Over 2.95 lakh people are taking shelter in 316 relief camps and distribution centres in flood-affected districts.

The ASDMA flood report also stated that 6,67,175 animals have been affected by the deluge.

Meanwhile, 180 wild animals, including 10 rhinos, have died in the flood in Kaziranga National Park so far.

Sonali Ghosh, Field Director of Kaziranga National Park, said that 10 rhinos, 150 hog deer, 2 swamp deer, and several sambar deer drowned in floodwaters, while 2 hog deer died in vehicle collisions, 13 other animals died under care, and one otter pup died from other causes.

During the floods, park authorities and the forest department rescued 135 animals, including two rhino calves and two elephant calves. Thirty-five forest camps in the national park are still under water. (ANI)

ALSO READ-Rain brings Mumbai to its knees again

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Environment India News

Rain brings Mumbai to its knees again

Of this, 210 mm fell between 2.30 am and 4 am. Between 8.30 am and 5.30 am, Santacruz received 14.1 mm of rain…reports Asian Lite News

Life was thrown out of gear on Monday in Mumbai as it received over 300 millimetres of rain within 24 hours till Monday morning — its first heavy rainfall of the season, with traffic chaos and train cancellations across the city. Schools were closed and the government issued an advisory urging people to avoid unnecessary travel.

A 72-year-old woman was killed in a short-circuit incident reported in Santacruz, while another woman was severely injured in Belapur while attempting to board an overcrowded train on the Harbour Line.

The downpour that began around Sunday midnight intensified during the early Monday with Indian Meteorology Department’s (IMD) Santacruz observatory recording 268 mm of rainfall in 24 hours ending at 8.25 am on Monday — the highest single-day rainfall for July since 2019.

Of this, 210 mm fell between 2.30 am and 4 am. Between 8.30 am and 5.30 am, Santacruz received 14.1 mm of rain.

The 268 mm recorded at Santacruz on Monday marked the second-highest single-day July rainfall in a decade. The highest was 375.2 mm on July 2, 2019, with the all-time record of 944.2 mm during the infamous July 26, 2005 deluge.

IMD’s coastal observatory at Colaba recorded 84 mm rain by 8.25 am on Monday, with an additional 101.8 mm between 8.30 am and 5.30 am. The weather department defines very heavy rainfall as 115.6 mm to 204.4 mm within a 24-hour period.

Due to the intensified rainfall from midnight on Monday, a yellow alert declared by the IMD for Mumbai in its five-day forecast issued Sunday, was upgraded to a “red alert” until 8.30 am on Tuesday. “The sudden intense rainfall was due to an offshore trough that intensified after 12.30 am on July 8, ” said an IMD official on Monday.

Flash floods were reported in multiple areas Monday, with suburban pockets receiving over 300 mm rainfall. As per BMC’s Automatic Weather System, Powai recorded 330 mm, followed by Bhandup at 315 mm, Andheri (East) at 253 mm, Bandra Kurla Complex at 232 mm, and Chembur at 226 mm. Other parts of Mumbai Metropolitan Region recorded comparatively lower rainfall.

The heavy rainfall severely impacted railway services, with services on the Harbour and Central Lines temporarily halted and delays of up to 40-45 minutes on the Western Line. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport cancelled 51 flights by Monday afternoon due to adverse weather conditions.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde posted on X: “…daily life has been disrupted with traffic congestion and railway disruptions. Authorities are working to clear water from tracks and restore normalcy. Emergency services are on high alert. Citizens are advised to venture out only if necessary…”

Traffic snarls were reported across Mumbai, particularly in the western suburbs, where vehicles were stuck on waterlogged roads. Andheri and Malad subways were closed for vehicular movement due to inundation.

While there was a low tide around 7 am on Monday, high tide was reported from 2 pm. The convergence of high tide and heavy rainfall delayed water receding in some areas until around 6 pm.

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Western US scorched by record heat, wildfires

California’s Death Valley, known for its extreme temperatures, reached 53.9 degrees Celsius on Sunday….reports Asian Lite News

A persistent heat wave is shattering temperature records across the Western United States, putting millions of people under extreme heat warnings and fueling dangerous wildfires that forced evacuations in several states.

Nearly 75 million people, primarily in the West, are under some form of extreme heat advisory on Sunday as a powerful heat dome hovers over the region, according to the National Weather Service, which has issued excessive heat warnings stretching from Arizona and Nevada through California and northward into Oregon and Washington, reports Xinhua news agency.

On Sunday, Las Vegas, Nevada, experienced a new all-time high temperature of 48.9 degrees Celsius, surpassing its previous record by three degrees, the National Weather Service Las Vegas said in a post on social media X, formerly Twitter. The record was officially recorded at Harry Reid International Airport.

California’s Death Valley, known for its extreme temperatures, reached 53.9 degrees Celsius on Sunday. The day before, a high temperature of 53.3 degrees Celsius was recorded at Death Valley National Park, where a visitor died from heat exposure and another was hospitalised for severe heat-related illness, according to a report by NBC News.

Other cities across the region also saw their record books rewritten. Palm Springs, California, reached a blistering 51.1 degrees Celsius on Friday, the hottest temperature ever recorded in the town. This surpassed the previous record of 50.6 degrees Celsius, set four times before, most recently in 2021.

The extreme temperatures are not limited to desert areas.

Sacramento, California’s capital, has experienced temperatures over 40.6 degrees Celsius for three consecutive days, while inland areas of Monterey County, typically cooled by the nearby Pacific Ocean, have seen temperatures soar well over 43.3 degrees Celsius.

The extreme heat was fuelled by a strong ridge of high pressure parked over Central California. This weather pattern prevents hot air near the surface from rising higher in the atmosphere, effectively trapping the heat and creating a “heat dome” effect.

As the region swelters, the risk of wildfires has dramatically increased. Officials across Western states warned that the combination of extreme heat and winds had spawned many new wildfires in the past week.

One significant blaze, the French Fire in Mariposa County, California, began on Thursday near Yosemite National Park. By Sunday night, it had burned through 908 acres (3.67 square kilometers) and was 55 per cent contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

In California’s Santa Barbara County, firefighters are battling the Lake Fire, which exploded over the weekend to more than 13,000 acres. As of Sunday morning, it was only 8 per cent contained. The blaze is threatening homes in the area, including Michael Jackson’s former Neverland Ranch.

Further north, crews are combating the Royal Fire, which burned in the Tahoe National Forest Sunday night. Forest service officials have reported that the fire was located in remote and rugged terrain, presenting significant challenges for firefighting operations.

The heat wave and associated wildfires have prompted evacuations in multiple counties across California, including Santa Barbara, Placer, Tuolumne, Mariposa, Fresno and Butte counties.

As the heat wave continues, authorities are continuing to urge residents to take precautions. These include staying adequately hydrated, minimising outdoor activities during the hottest times of the day, and never leaving children or pets unattended in vehicles.

Climate experts warned that extreme heat events are expected to increase in frequency and intensity due to climate change.

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PM2.5 pollution killed 33,000 Indians, Delhi worst-hit

Delhi had the highest across all cities studied, followed by Mumbai (about 5,100 each year), while Shimla had the lowest air pollution levels yet it claimed 59 lives per year….reports Asian Lite News

Short-term air pollution exposure claimed 33,000 lives annually in 10 cities in India and Delhi tops the list with 12,000 deaths every year, according to a study published on Thursday in The Lancet Planetary Health.

The study showed increases in the risk of death were steep at lower concentrations of PM2.5 and tapered off at higher concentrations. Even levels of air pollution below the current National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 60 micrograms per cubic meter lead to increased daily mortality rates in India, showed the findings led by an international team of researchers from Ashoka University, Sustainable Futures Collaborative (SFC) — an independent Delhi-based research organisation — and Boston University (US).

Delhi had the highest across all cities studied, followed by Mumbai (about 5,100 each year), while Shimla had the lowest air pollution levels yet it claimed 59 lives per year.

The other cities include Kolkata (4,700 each year), Chennai (2,900 each year), Ahmedabad (2,500 each year), Bengaluru (2,100 each year), Hyderabad (1,600 each year), Pune (1,400 each year), Varanasi (830 each year).

“We found that about 33,000 deaths per year across these cities are attributable to air quality levels that exceed the WHO 24-hr exposure guideline (15 micrograms per cubic meter of air), with Delhi topping, followed by Mumbai,” said Bhargav Krishna, Environmental health and policy researcher at SFC, in a post on X.com.

The team based the study on short-term exposure to PM 2.5 (particulate matter 2.5 microns in size) and daily mortality in 10 cities between 2008 and 2019.

For the study, they used novel causal modelling techniques that isolate the heightened impact of local sources of air pollution such as waste burning and vehicular emissions among others, and generated estimates of mortality attributable to air pollution for cities (such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata) and at lower concentrations previously unstudied in India

The results showed that between 2008-19, 7.2 per cent of deaths were due to high short-term air pollution in these cities.

Further, using a hybrid machine learning-based exposure model the team observed a significant number of deaths even in cities like Chennai,

Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune — generally considered to have good to moderate air quality under our current air quality standards. 

“Every 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air increment in PM2.5 was associated with a 1.42 per cent increase in daily deaths. This number almost doubled to 3.57 per cent when we used a causal instrumental variable model that isolates the effect of local air pollution,” Bhargav said.

The study stressed the need to make the national air quality standards more stringent and to redouble efforts to control air pollution.

“Our current definition of what is good air quality needs to change to better reflect the science. Remedial action on air quality needs to expand far beyond a black and white classification of clean and ‘non-attainment’ cities,” Bhargav said. 

He further noted that the current policy instruments such as Graded Response Action Plans (GRAP) focus largely on seasonal extremes. Instead, there is a need to drive year-round action as a large proportion of risk is concentrated in low to moderate air pollution levels, where GRAP is essentially ineffective.

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‘Arab region faces major climate change threats’

Aboul Gheit said that migration to and from the Arab region contributes to shaping the social and economic reality of the region…reports Asian Lite News

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, affirmed that the Arab world is one of the regions directly affected by the major threats of climate change and natural disasters.

He noted that Arab and global awareness of environmental migration issues has increased over the past decade, which was reflected in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Aboul Gheit highlighted the valued Arab efforts and initiatives presented during the last two sessions of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which were held in the Arab region, specifically in Egypt and the UAE.

He said this in his speech during the Second Regional Review Conference of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration in the Arab region, held today at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States. The conference was attended by Amy Pope, Coordinator of the United Nations Network on Migration and Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration, and Rola Dashti, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

Aboul Gheit said that migration to and from the Arab region contributes to shaping the social and economic reality of the region, its neighbourhood, and the world as a whole. It also gains special importance today more than ever in this region which hosts an estimated 41.4 million migrants and refugees and the origin of around 32.8 million migrants and refugees.

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Asia News Environment India News

Over 16 lakh people hit by floods in Assam

According to ASDMA officials, the flood also inundated over 39,451 hectares of crop areas in 2,800 villages….reports Asian Lite News

The flood situation in the northeastern state of Assam has further deteriorated as eight fresh deaths were reported, taking the toll to 46, an official said on Wednesday, adding over 15 lakh people have been affected so far.

An Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) official said that on Wednesday, two persons died in Sonitpur district and one each died in Dibrugarh, Darrang, Golaghat, Biswanath, Tinsukia and Morigaon districts.

According to ASDMA officials, the flood also inundated over 39,451 hectares of crop areas in 2,800 villages.

Over 11.20 lakh domestic animals were also badly affected in the current flood.

The Brahmaputra, Barak, and all their tributaries are flowing above the danger level in many places. The flood damaged 74 roads, 14 embankments, and 6 bridges.

The state government has opened 515 relief camps where around 26,000 people took shelter, while 359 more relief distribution centres are also functioning in different districts.

Many national and state disaster response forces teams have also been deployed for rescue and relief operations.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma reviewed the flood scenario in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve on Tuesday.

The park authorities issued traffic diversions to ensure the safety of animals. The movement of heavy commercial vehicles through the park has been restricted.

Sarma also visited the flood-affected Golaghat district.

He said that several battalions of NDRF and SDRF were working to deal with the situation.

“We have taken help from the Indian Air force wherever required. We have decided to carry out a damage assessment and provide relief to the flood affected people by August 15,” the Chief Minister said.

He said: “To carry out this exercise, ministers will fan out in different districts and camp for three days. I will go to Barak Valley for a couple of days. In September-October, we will be able to allocate funds for the damaged infrastructure and get the same repaired by March next year.”

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Extreme heat builds across California and South-Central U.S.

Heat-related deaths in the U.S. reached over 2,300 last year, likely an undercount…reports Asian Lite News

California sweltered on Tuesday, with heat alerts affecting nearly 90 million people across the U.S. during the Fourth of July holiday week. The National Weather Service attributed the extreme heat to high-pressure ridges off the West Coast and from Kansas to the Gulf Coast. Sacramento faced an excessive heat warning, expecting temperatures between 105-115°F (40.5-46.1°C) until Sunday, media reported.

In Butte County, about 70 miles north of Sacramento, crews battled the Thompson Fire amid scorching conditions, forcing 13,000 people to evacuate. The wildfire quickly grew to over 3 square miles with zero containment, as firefighters and helicopters worked to protect homes. Federal funding and state resources were mobilized to support firefighting efforts.

According to Associated Press report, residents struggled to cope with the intense heat. John Mendoza, 35, described it as a “firehose of heat,” resorting to frequent dips in the pool. Katherine Powers, a homeless woman in Sacramento, sought shade in Cathedral Square, finding it challenging to transport her belongings to cooling centers. Fairfield resident Darlene Crumedy relied on fans to stay cool, avoiding costly air conditioning.

Heat-related deaths in the U.S. reached over 2,300 last year, likely an undercount, according to an Associated Press analysis. Dr. Arthur Jey from Sutter Health emphasized the importance of avoiding heat stroke by staying hydrated, wearing loose clothing, and recognizing symptoms like severe headaches and profuse sweating.

The heat wave was expected to spread from north to south California, with interior areas like the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys facing the brunt. San Francisco saw highs in the upper 80s downtown but cooler temperatures at Ocean Beach.

PG&E implemented power shutoffs in parts of 10 counties to prevent wildfire risks from downed electrical wires, affecting about 12,000 customers. The Basin Fire in the Sierra National Forest, the largest current blaze, was 17% contained after burning over 21 square miles since June 26.

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‘Last 6 months saw worst Amazon wildfires in 2 decades’

This surge in wildfires presents a challenge for President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s administration, as the number of fires rises despite a decline in deforestation….reports Asian Lite News

The Brazilian Amazon recorded 13,489 wildfires in the first half of this year, the worst figure in 20 years, according to satellite data released Monday, media reported.

This marks a 61 percent increase from the 8,344 fires detected during the same period last year, attributed to a historic drought that impacted the world’s largest tropical rainforest, AFP reported.

Since Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research began tracking this data in 1998, only 2003 (17,143) and 2004 (17,340) have seen more wildfires from January to June.

This surge in wildfires presents a challenge for President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s administration, as the number of fires rises despite a decline in deforestation.

Record-breaking wildfire numbers were also observed in two other biodiverse ecosystems south of the Amazon: the Pantanal and the Cerrado savanna.

The Pantanal, known for its rich wildlife including caimans, parrots, giant otters, and the world’s highest density of jaguars, recorded 3,538 wildfires in the first half of 2024 — a more than 2,000 percent increase from last year.

The Cerrado experienced almost as many fires as the Amazon during this period, with 13,229 wildfires recorded, it was reported.

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Heat Wave Scorches US

The extreme heat has claimed the lives of at least six people, with another 87 deaths under investigation for potential heat-related causes…reports Asian Lite News

An intensive heat wave continued to grip much of the United States this weekend, triggering record-breaking temperatures and placing millions of people under heat alerts.

“A heat wave will continue over much of the eastern US south of a quasi-stationary boundary,” the Weather Prediction Center (WPC) said on Saturday.

“These temperatures remain the most anomalous and dangerous for early summer over portions of the Midwest/Ohio Valley east to the Mid-Atlantic,” the WPC said, according to Xinhua news agency.

“Conditions will remain hot from central to southern California,” it said, adding that “Highs on Sunday and Monday will range in the mid to upper 100s (degrees Fahrenheit).”

More than 115 million people across the United States are currently under active National Weather Service (NWS) extreme heat alerts, according to the National Integrated Heat Health Information System on Saturday.

A heat dome, caused by a high-pressure system trapping hot air near the ground, has settled over the Midwest and Northeast early this week, causing record-breaking temperatures in several cities. Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, has already experienced its hottest days of 2024 so far, with temperatures soaring to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) this week. The first 19 days of June are the hottest on record for Phoenix. The average temperature in the city is 95.1 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) this year, the hottest year out of 129 years of records, according to local news outlet Arizona’s Family.

This extreme heat has claimed the lives of at least six people, with another 87 deaths under investigation for potential heat-related causes, said the Maricopa County Public Health Department in the latest heat surveillance report on June 15.

Last year, Maricopa County, where Phoenix is located, experienced a devastating 645 heat-related deaths, a sharp increase from the 425 confirmed deaths for 2022, according to the county’s 2023 heat-related death report.

Much of California is also under heat advisories. These soaring temperatures will affect major cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco.

The NWS issued a heat advisory for Southern California, which is in effect till Sunday night. The advisory warns that temperatures are expected to reach up 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 degrees Celsius to 37.8 degrees Celsius) and “hot temperatures may cause heat illnesses.”

The agency also noted that the temperature in Northern California’s Sacramento Valley could reach 107 degrees Fahrenheit (41.7 degrees Celsius). This heat wave exacerbates the already challenging wildfire season in California, where dry and windy conditions have fueled several large fires. Despite progress in containing some blazes, the forecast high temperatures for the weekend are expected to hinder ongoing efforts to combat wildfires that have already burned thousands of acres across the state, reported Xinhua news agency.

Wildfires have burned over 99,000 acres (about 400 square km) so far this year in California, according to the current emergency incidents data of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

On the eastern side, New York City is bracing for potentially the longest stretch of 90-degree Fahrenheit (about 32-degree Celsius) days in June on record, prompting the NWS to issue a heat advisory which is in effect till Sunday night.

Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania, has extended a heat health emergency through midnight on Sunday, according to the city’s Department of Public Health. Washington DC is also facing a heat emergency, with temperatures expected to exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (about 38 degrees Celsius) on Sunday. It would surpass the previous record set in the 1980s and be the first time the district has reached triple digits since 2016, according to AccuWeather.

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Heatwave grips North India, hospitals on alert

The Monsoon’s progress has been delayed, particularly between June 12 and 18, extending the period of high temperatures in northern India….reports Asian Lite News

The northern and eastern parts of India are enduring an extended and intense heat wave, significantly increasing the number of heat stroke cases and prompting the Centre to advise hospitals to establish special units for such patients, media reported. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), a western disturbance might provide some relief in the coming days, though it is expected to be minimal.

The Monsoon’s progress has been delayed, particularly between June 12 and 18, extending the period of high temperatures in northern India. Temperatures have been soaring, with maximums ranging from 43 to 45 degrees Celsius in parts of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and north Rajasthan.

In Delhi, hospitals have seen a sharp rise in heat stroke and heat exhaustion cases, alongside several fatalities over the past two days. A senior police officer reported discovering 50 bodies of people from underprivileged backgrounds across the capital within the last 48 hours, though the exact cause of death remains unconfirmed. Delhi’s maximum temperature hit 43.6 degrees Celsius, exceeding the normal by over four degrees, while the minimum temperature was 35.2 degrees Celsius, the highest for June since 1969.

The Centre-run RML Hospital received 22 patients in the last two days, resulting in five deaths and 12 patients on ventilator support. At Safdarjung Hospital, 60 heatstroke cases were reported, including 42 admissions and six fatalities. LNJP Hospital authorities reported four suspected heatstroke deaths in the same period.

Union Health Minister JP Nadda reviewed the heatwave situation, directing central government hospitals to start special heatwave units. The Union Health Ministry’s advisory to states included guidelines for preparing health facilities and instructed state Nodal Officers under the National Programme for Climate Change and Human Health (NPCCHH) to submit daily data on heatstroke cases and deaths from March 1, 2024. The advisory emphasized maintaining digital records of heatstroke cases and deaths at health facility levels and investigating suspected heat-related deaths.

The IMD reported that heatwave to severe heatwave conditions prevailed across Uttar Pradesh, south Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Punjab, and parts of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, and Jammu. A fresh western disturbance is anticipated to bring slight relief to the northern region, with potential light rainfall in Delhi on June 20. Light showers in Dehradun and thunderstorms in Shimla provided some respite in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

Haryana saw Nuh recording 45.3 degrees Celsius, Faridabad 45 degrees Celsius, and Gurugram 43.6 degrees Celsius. Chandigarh experienced a maximum temperature of 43.1 degrees Celsius, while Punjab’s Sangrur and Pathankot recorded 44.8 and 44.3 degrees Celsius, respectively.

The intense heat has caused water shortages, with storage levels in reservoirs and rivers hitting record lows, affecting agricultural irrigation. Power grids are under severe strain, with an increase in short circuits and fires. The Northern Regional Load Despatch Centre (NRLDC) reported multiple tripping incidents on Monday, as power demand surged to 89.4 gigawatts (GW), leading to a supply gap of 16.5 GW in Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Jammu & Kashmir.

Delhi’s peak power demand reached an all-time high of 8656 MW on Wednesday afternoon due to the massive use of air conditioners and other cooling appliances amid the relentless heat wave. The city has experienced temperatures above 40 degrees since May 12, with 16 days seeing the mercury reach or exceed 45 degrees.

The water crisis, exacerbated by the heat wave, led Delhi Water Minister Atishi to seek Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention, threatening an indefinite hunger strike from June 21 if the issue remains unresolved. IMD officials highlighted that high minimum temperatures, or warm nights, worsen the impact of the heat wave, preventing the body from cooling down and leading to more nighttime fatalities.

India is facing one of its hottest summers, with multiple heat waves pushing millions to their limits and numerous states reporting heat-related deaths. The IMD noted that about 40 percent of the country has recorded twice the usual number of heat wave days. Rajasthan has reached 50 degrees Celsius twice recently, and Delhi has maintained temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius for 36 consecutive days.

Experts attribute the severe heat to climate change and the naturally occurring El Niño phenomenon, which involves unusual warming of the ocean surface in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. While heat waves are typical in India during April and May, climate change has intensified their frequency and severity. Data indicates that 12 of the warmest years in India have occurred since 2006, with 2016 being the hottest year on record. The World Weather Attribution Group stated that similar heatwaves, previously occurring every 30 years, have become about 45 times more likely due to climate change.

Nadda directs govt hospitals to set up heatwave units

Union Health Minister JP Nadda reviewed the heatwave situation across the country on Wednesday and instructed the establishment of special heatwave units in central government hospitals.

“Union Health Minister JP Nadda reviewed the heatwave situation across the country and preparedness of hospitals to deal with heatwave with senior officials of the Health Ministry, here today. The Health Minister has directed officials to ensure all that hospitals are prepared to provide the best healthcare to those affected by the heatwave. Nadda also directed for special heatwave units to be started in the central government hospitals,” as per a Ministry of Health and Family Welfare press release.

Under the direction of the Union Health Minister, an advisory has also been issued by the Health Ministry on Wednesday.

The heatwave situation and surge in heatstroke cases in the national capital have prompted an emergency response from Delhi and Central govt.

As per IMD, the maximum temperature of 43.6 degrees Celsius was recorded in the national capital on Wednesday.

Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj has directed all major hospitals to increase their bed capacity for patients suffering from heat-related illnesses.

Bharadwaj on Wednesday chaired an emergency meeting with heads of all major hospitals amid heatwave conditions and a surge in heatstroke cases in the national capital.

During the meeting, the Delhi Health Minister directed all major hospitals in the national capital to scale up their beds for patients with heat-related illnesses.

heatwave.

“Delhi Health Minister today chaired an emergency meeting with heads of all major hospitals amid heatwave conditions. He directed the hospitals to scale up their beds for patients with heat-related illnesses,” as per the Health Minister’s Office.

The Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Wednesday issued dos and don’ts to help citizens minimise the impact of the heat wave and prevent serious ailments or even death due to heatstroke.

As per the DDMA, citizens have been advised to avoid going out in the sun, particularly between 12 noon and 3 pm, which is when the sun’s rays are most intense.

The DDMA also recommends drinking plenty of water regularly, even if one does not feel thirsty, to stay hydrated.DDMA has also suggested wearing lightweight, light-coloured, loose, and porous cotton clothes to keep cool and using protective gear such as goggles, umbrellas or hats, and shoes or chappals while venturing out in the sun.DDMA has advised people to avoid strenuous activities when the outside temperature is high and to avoid outdoor work between 12 noon and 3 pm.

The DDMA has also advised people to carry water while traveling.

As the city battles the heatwave, the national capital’s peak power demand reached an all-time high of 8,656 MW at 3:06 pm, the highest ever in the history of the national capital, the State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) data stated on Wednesday.

The national capital’s peak power demand clocked 8000 MW for the first time on May 22, 2024. Since then, Delhi’s peak power demand has crossed the 8000 MW mark on nine occasions.

Lok Nayak Hospital has reported that nine patients were admitted during the last one week due to heatstroke.

Out of these nine patients, four are currently on ventilator support due to critical conditions and multi-organ failure caused by heatstroke. He added that on June 16, a patient died due to heatstroke.

“Currently, 9 patients are admitted in LNJP hospital. Out of the 9 patients, 4 patients are on ventilator support due to their critical condition and multi-organ failure due to heatstroke. On June 16, a patient died due to heatstroke,” Medical Director of Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital, Suresh Kumar, told ANI.

According to Dr Ajay Shukla, Medical Superintendent of RML Hospital, 11 people were admitted to the hospital on Tuesday with heat stroke, the highest reported in a single day this season.

He said that since the beginning of the heatwave about a month or so ago at least 45 people have been admitted with heat-related ailments till date.

“A total of 22 patients have been admitted to the hospital and five have lost their lives due to suspected heatstroke. 12 patients are on ventilators and in critical situation. The majority of patients are labourers who work in extreme conditions,” the hospital official said.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department anticipates the arrival of the Monsoon around June 30, offering some respite from the extreme weather conditions.

“Monsoon is expected to hit Delhi-NCR around June 30. Even today, we can expect dust storms and light-intensity rainfall activity in Delhi,” IMD scientist Dr Naresh Kumar told ANI.

The heatwave has also impacted flight operations at Indira Gandhi International Airport, causing delays.

A senior official in the Ministry of Civil Aviation said that flight operations have been impacted because of high temperatures and following safety guidelines. Flights get delayed sometimes or wait for the wind speed to settle down.

Another senior official with a domestic airline said that during high temperatures, the air becomes thin.

Aircraft require lift to take off and lift is affected by the density of the surrounding air. The effects of hot air are felt most during takeoff and the initial climb. Sometimes passengers might feel mid-air turbulence due to this reason.

“In extreme weather conditions like high temperatures and wind speeds, we proceed only after clearance from the Air Traffic Control, (ATC),” said the official.

As per the IMD, heat waves are a period of unusually high temperatures as compared to what is normally expected over a region. Heatwave is considered if the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40 degrees Celsius or more for plains and at least 30 degrees Celcius or more for Hilly regions.

Meanwhile, the flood situation in Assam’s Karimganj district is still grim as over 1.53 lakh people have been affected in the district.

The water levels of three major rivers of the district Kushiyara, Longai and Singla are flowing above the danger level mark and the flood waters submerged 225 villages in the district.

Mridul Yadav, District Commissioner of Karimganj district told ANI that, over 1.50 lakh people and 225 villages of the district have been affected by the deluge.

“Nearly 40 relief camps have set up in different revenue circles areas where around 12,000 people are taking shelter. Around 54,000 animals have also been affected and the flood waters submerged crop areas also,” Mridul Yadav said. (ANI)

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