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Study warns of doubling of heat-related deaths in India by

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06 July 2015

The heat this summer took a toll of thousands, but things are set to get worse. The Indian Institute of Management -Ahmedabad (IIM-A), projects a doubling of heat-related mortalities in India's urban areas by 2080.

According to the IIM study, policymakers would need to plan and respond to the challenge of climate change in India, which saw the number of deaths due to summer heat at over 2,000 deaths this year.

The study titled Predicted Increase in Heat-Related Mortality under Climate Change in Urban India says, ''Urban areas in India are projected to witness two-fold or more increase in heat-related mortality under the projected future climate.

The study was conducted by IIM-A researcher Amit Garg, Vimal Mishra of Indian Institute of Technology-Gandhinagar and Hem Dholakia, a member of Delhi-based NGO Council for Energy, Environment and Water.

According to the study based on data collected from 52 urban centres,  the mortality was projected to increase 71 per cent to 140 per cent in the late 21st century. ''We find that increase in heat-related mortality will overshadow decline in the cold-related mortality (winter season).''

It added that urban areas of Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkata were likely to experience the highest absolute increase in heat-related mortality in 2080s.

The study considers air temperature projections for two representative concentration pathways (RCP) of 4.5 with a worst case scenario of 8.5 for its projections.
 
From a policy perspective, the five urban areas projected to experience the highest increase in the future heat related mortality after accounting for population increase are Delhi (15,200 deaths), Ahmedabad (17,600 deaths), Bangalore (14,900 deaths), Kolkata (19,400 deaths) and Mumbai (15,300 deaths).

According to the report, India and other developing countries were at higher risk due to high population and low preparedness. The report added, mortality associated with recent heat waves in Indian cities such as Ahmedabad and Delhi highlighted the current vulnerability that was likely to increase in the future.

The study warned that the towns and smaller cities of today would burgeon into urban areas with million plus populations in the future due to urbanisation, which impact the health of  people.

The study stress calls for laying greater emphasis on public health and policy coordination across sectors.





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