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POLICY BRIEF: Heat-Related Mortality in India Associated with the 2010 Ahmedabad Heat Wave

Higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becoming increasingly frequent due to climate change. Extreme heat events already have had a significant impact in India, where summer temperatures are historically high. Although national programs in India exist to address many effects of climate change, the country has yet to implement strategies to adapt to increasing heat. Through the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and a partnership of organisations, Ahmedabad is the first Indian city to create a comprehensive early warning system and preparedness plan for extreme heat events.

In the recent past, mortality that is associated with extreme heat has been documented in developed countries, including North America and Europe. However, far fewer research reports are available from developing countries.  The purpose of this study, Heat-Related Mortality in India: Excess All-Cause Mortality Associated with the 2010 Ahmedabad Heat Wave, is to analyse the impact of the heat wave and assess the associated excess mortality that came as a result of the heatwave.

The study looks at at all recorded deaths associated with the May 2010 heat wave in Ahmedabad to determine whether extreme heat leads to excess mortality. Counts of deaths from May 1–31, 2010 were compared with the mean of counts from temporally matched periods in May 2009 and 2011 to calculate excess mortality.

The study is part of the CDKN-funded project, Climate change: addressing heat-health vulnerability in rapidly urbanising regions of Western India, which seeks to address heat-related vulnerability in Ahmedabad, India.

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