Disasters Current Affairs

Drought, heatwaves increasing in frequency, area in India: IISc Study

Researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have found that frequency of heatwaves accompanied by drought has increased in magnitude and in area over past three decades in India.

The increases in cocktail of drought and heatwaves were seen particularly in Maharashtra and Southern Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Central India.

Key Facts

Heatwaves (a prolonged period when temperatures approach record extremes) and droughts are destructive even when occurring in separate events, but their concurrence is far more serious. Both phenomena have a serious bearing on water resources, affecting agriculture and human settlements.

The conclusion was based on analysis of rainfall and temperature data of 50 years. Researchers had compared Heatwave Magnitude Index daily (HWMId) — which combines duration and magnitude of heatwaves — and Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), which defines meteorological drought from 1951 to 1981.

In all combinations of heatwaves (3.5 and 10-day events) and drought (moderate or severe) were analysed during this period. It was found that, percentage increase in frequency was most significant in parts of Maharashtra and Southern Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The increase may be due to intricate relationship of land surface processes, soil moisture, evapo-transpiration and local climate.

The area affected b extreme of extreme incident has gone from almost nothing in 1951, to nearly 4% by 2010. Nearly 18% of country’s area on average has been facing at least three days of temperatures above 85th percentile.


Pralay Sahayam: Multi-Agency Disaster Relief Exercise held in Hyderabad

Multi-Agency humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise Pralay Sahayam was recently held in Hyderabad to create public awareness about man-made and natural climate change and urban disasters including flooding.

The two-day exercise was jointly organised by Telangana state government in association with all central and state agencies National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and Armed Forces.

Key Facts

The multi-agency exercise was based on urban flooding scenario in twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. It aimed at synergising efforts of all agencies involved and build confidence in populace about capabilities of disaster management agencies to render support in case of such disasters.

Under it, joint operations for tackling urban flooding scenario was carried out by State Government agencies, Police, State Fire & Emergency Services, NDRF, CISF and Armed Forces. The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Army Aviation had employed Mi-17 helicopters, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and Chetak Helicopter for aerial evacuation, demonstrating special skills in hovering and winching.

Special Forces such as Army Commandos and Marine Commandos from Indian Navy also carried out highly synchronized Search and Rescue operation in flooded colonies. Dog Squad of NDRF and Telangana State police also carried out search operations for trapped personnel.

The exercise brought out role and function of State Emergency Operations in coordinating conduct of joint operations. Under it, relief activities such as evacuation of rescued people, provisioning of medical care and distribution of essential supplies were also carried out by multiple agencies in coordinated and efficient manner.

The exercise also emphasized significance of early warning systems of agencies like Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS).