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‘Urban Heat Islands’: Experts Say Cities In India Should Do more To Protect Homeless As Temperature Crosses 50 Degrees Celsius

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A large number of cities in India need to modify heat protection schemes to prevent deaths and illness, experts said, as India seeks to protect its homeless population after temperature soared above 50 degrees Celsius.

There have at least 36 deaths as a result of this year’s heat wave, during which temperatures. On the other hand, scarcity of water has led to fighting in the streets, with a number of stabbings, injuries and even deaths, DW reported.

The hot weather has turned cities into “urban heat islands,” said Sayantan Sarkar, citing a lack of tree cover that was causing temperatures to soar on paved surfaces. Sarkar had helped implement India’s first Heat Action Plan (HAP) in Ahmedabad in 2013.

“Cities bear the brunt of a heat wave because they are so densely populated and because the effects are more pronounced,” he said.

However, a lack of resources is leading to additional problems. “Not all cities have the capacity to implement the measures needed, and the lack of comprehensive medical records makes it harder to target vulnerable groups such as the homeless and migrant workers,” Sarkar said.

Ahmedabad executed HAP after a heat wave in 2010 resulted in more than 1,300 deaths.

Arup Kumar Srivastava, an expert at India’s National Disaster Management Authority, said improvements were needed to cope with a heat wave like the one currently hitting India. “This year, night-time temperatures have also remained high, which poses additional risks. So the plans need to be modified accordingly,” he said.

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