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INSIDE STORY: Addressing heat-related health risks in urban India: Ahmedabad’s Heat Action Plan

Higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becoming increasingly frequent globally due to climate change, and a new scale of coordinated action is essential to prevent the dangerous health effects of heat stress.

This report, Addressing heat-related health risks in urban India: Ahmedabad’s Heat Action Plan, looks at how the local community of Ahmedabad in Western India is preparing for the increasingly extreme heat of the city. It is part of CDKN’s Inside stories on climate compatible development series, and is authored by Dr Tejas Shah of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation,
 Dr Dileep Mavalankar and Dr Gulrez Shah Azhar of the Indian Institute of Public Health-Gandhinagar and
 Anjali Jaiswal and Meredith Connolly of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Led by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH), a coalition of academic, health and environmental groups partnered to prepare local communities for increasingly extreme heat in the city of Ahmedabad, located in Gujarat state of Western India, through an early warning system and heat preparedness plan. Ahmedabad is the first city in South Asia to comprehensively address the health threats of extreme heat.

Key messages from the report:

  • Climate change is fuelling more intense and frequent heat waves in India. A new scale of coordinated action is essential to protect communities, especially their most vulnerable members, from the dangerous health effects of extreme heat.
  • In Ahmedabad, Western India, strong local government leadership enabled the highly effective implementation of a pilot Heat Action Plan – the first of its kind in South Asia – and its continuation following completion of the pilot project.
  • The Plan, which is based on robust scientific research, builds public awareness of the risks of extreme heat, trains medical and community workers to prevent and respond to heat-related illnesses, and coordinates an interagency emergency response effort when heat waves hit.
  • Sharing international experiences and best practices helped change the perception among project stakeholders that heat was not a significant health threat. However, further awareness-raising is still necessary to convince the general public.

Download the full report: Addressing heat-related health risks in urban India: Ahmedabad’s Heat Action Plan.

For further reading on Ahmedabad’s heat action plan, see below: