Heat wave events on rise in India, Andhra Pradesh among worst-hit states

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Heat wave events have been gradually increasing in the country in the last three decades with 660 such events causing 12,273 fatalities, said a research paper.  

“The heat wave events have shown a rising trend, whereas no significant rising or declining trend was observed in the heat wave. In fatality density, top five states are Chandigarh, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and Odisha. Regionally, annual fatality rate has varied from 0.66 (peninsula region) to 0.02 (hilly region),” said the paper.

The paper published in scientific journal Current Science used ‘Disastrous Weather Events’ reports statistics for the period 1978–2014. The analysis shows that only five states — Andhra Pradesh (42%), Rajasthan (172%), Odisha (102%), Uttar Pradesh (72%) and Bihar (72%) have accounted more than 80% of the heat wave fatalities, although nine states namely, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Sikkim, Mizoram, Uttarakhand and Goa have never reported heat wave events.

Interestingly, each event has resulted in about 104 fatalities in Andhra Pradesh state. Majority of events have been witnessed in April, May and June months. Maximum count of events has been observed in Maharashtra state followed by Rajasthan, Odisha, West Bengal, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.

Region wise analysis shows that the maximum count of heat wave events has been detected in northwest (30%) followed by central northeast (28%) and central west (192%) regions, whereas least over hilly (12%).  

Conversely, peninsula has experienced roughly 422% of the total fatalities followed by central northeast (272%) and northwest (212%) regions, while hilly region accounts almost negligible fatalities followed by northeast (42%) and central west (62%). Remarkably, the peninsula observed the highest fatalities per event (77 fatalities).

While Andhra Pradesh has the maximum fatality rate per million population per year followed by Rajasthan, Odisha, Chandigarh and Punjab state. The annual heat wave event rate was found in northwest and central west regions. Fatality rate varies from 0.66 (peninsula region) to 0.02 (hilly region) per annum.

A noticeable variation in the count of male fatalities over women and children has been detected. Higher male fatalities may be accredited to their higher involvement in outdoor works than women and children.