Beat the Heat

Akangjungla

Last month, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued an updated Seasonal outlook for hot weather season (April to June) 2024 and Monthly outlook for April 2024 for rainfall and temperature. According to IMD, during the upcoming hot weather season (April to June), above Normal maximum Temperatures are likely over most parts of country, especially with high probability over central India and western peninsular India. Normal to below normal maximum temperatures are likely over some parts of western Himalayan region, NE states and north Odisha during this hot weather season, IMD also reported. The updates come as the World Metrological Organisation (WMO) in March 2024, “based on data from multiple agencies” confirmed that “2023 was the warmest year on record, with the global average near-surface temperature at 1.45°C above the pre-industrial baseline. It crowned the warmest ten-year period on record.” As per the WMO State of the Global Climate 2023 report, heatwave, floods, droughts, wildfires and rapidly intensifying tropical cyclones caused misery and mayhem, upending every-day life for millions and inflicting many billions of dollars in economic losses. Both IMD and WMO reports sounds alarming. While different group of people would want to agree or disagree on the topic of climate change, one cannot not refute the transformation, the weather has been manifesting over the years.

Agriculture is one such profession or activity which requires proper weather conditions to be profitable. The Department of Agriculture, Government of Nagaland has observed that the North East India including Nagaland is taking on a visible shift due to the impact of climate change. In an advisory to farmers, Nagaland’s Department of Agriculture remarked that this impact has resulted in higher frequency of natural disasters like droughts, floods, heat wave, hailstorm, etc, and has emerged as a major concern for agricultural productivity in general and food security in particular including lower nutrition quality of produce. It stressed on the importance of evolving strategies and contingency plans to cope with the climate change for sustaining agricultural productivity and livelihoods of farming communities. In an exclusive report carried by this newspaper, potato farmers in the state’s capital Kohima reports that the yield is low and the size of potatoes is considerably smaller while some are infested. In the case of this, a Professor in the Department of Agronomy, School of Agricultural Sciences, Nagaland University has cited that climate change may have some impact, yet nutrient management may be the main factor for the decline in productivity of the crop. 

The Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF), EBR and PI, NMHS, Nagaland in a current gathering held in Wokha has opined that the effects of climate change are becoming more evident year by year which is also being observed in our areas recently. It was informed that Kohima district remains the most vulnerable in this regard as compared to other districts; this is because, in Kohima, maximum of the cultivation is dependent on water particularly wet rice cultivation. The Conservator explained that wet fields, in turn remain consistent if the forest are wealthy, however, groundwater if not sustained effected by climate change have major effect on the farming practices because of changing cycle of rainfall like delay, flooding among others. During the recent review meeting on National Programme on Climate Change and Human Health, in terms of preparedness of health facilities on heat related illness, the State Nodal Officer for Nagaland has mentioned that health facilities will identify a room as heat stroke room. Heat related management and intervention to be initiated in all health units. Ambulances will also need to be equipped with cooling measures.

All these reports and views confirm of the fact that temperatures and heatwave can affect human health and its survival. The weather updates and climate based researches will continue to fulfil its objectives and call for action from the government and industry. For Dimapur people, the last three days of the current week has been extremely challenging due to the intense sun heat. For daily wage earners such as construction workers, auto drivers and street vendors, the need for facilities such as access to drinking water and regular work breaks should be taken into consideration. Not everyone is privileged with secure and comfortable living conditions, and this calls for individuals to extend every possible kindness towards the vulnerable people to help survive through the miserable summer heat.

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