Heat And Cold Waves Killed More Than 8,000 People In The Last 10 Years
Around 6,400 reportedly died due to heat waves across the country between 2010 and 2018, with 2015 recording the most number of fatalities.
For more than a week in March, several parts of India witnessed a heat wave that sent the temperatures soaring up to six degrees Celsius above average.
These heat waves in central and northwestern India were broken by thunderstorms, lightning and flash flooding that killed at least 64 people. However, the hottest days of the year will grip much of central and northern India in the coming days, and is expected to last all throughout May.
According to the data by the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation, heat waves and cold waves in India have significantly increased in the past two years.
And, while the number of reported casualties declined from 375 (2017) to 16 (2018) in the case of heat waves, deaths due to cold waves recorded more than a 150 per cent increase.
The year 2017 saw a 14 times increase in the number of heat waves (524) as compared to 2016; cold waves, meanwhile, spiked 34 times for the same period. 2018 saw a marginal drop in both.
Rajasthan witnessed the highest number of heat and cold waves from 1970 to 2018. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh—considered a single entity—followed the northern state with the most number of heat waves; Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with that of cold waves during the same period. South India has not been hit much by cold waves.
The year 2018 was declared the sixth warmest year since 1901. And guess what, the other five have been in the last 10 years, with 2016 recording the highest average temperature.
Around 6,400 reportedly died due to heat waves across the country between 2010 and 2018, with 2015 recording the most number of fatalities. The number of deaths due to cold waves for the same period stood at around 2,000. The maximum casualties were recorded in 2003 when 1,156 people froze to death.