US group launches Ahmedabad model-based toolkit for heat waves

Based on Ahmedabad's pioneering "Heat Action Plan", a US-based environmental advocacy group has released a toolkit to tackle heat waves and rising temperatures on the sidelines of Paris climate change summit.

Washington: Based on Ahmedabad's pioneering "Heat Action Plan", a US-based environmental advocacy group has released a toolkit to tackle heat waves and rising temperatures on the sidelines of Paris climate change summit.

The "City Resilience Toolkit: Response to Deadly Heat Waves and Preparing for Rising Temperatures" by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Climate and Development Knowledge Network and partners was released in Paris.

The materials released are based on the Indian city of Ahmedabad's pioneering "Heat Action Plan" which became India's first early warning system and preparedness plan for extreme heat in 2013, as well as international experiences and best practices, a media release said.

"This City Resilience Toolkit acts as a step-by-step playbook to guide development of local and regional early warning systems and heat preparedness plans," Yale McCluskey Fellow and former NRDC president Frances Beinecke said.

"We hope city leaders utilise this resource to take climate action to protect those who are most vulnerable to global warming's devastating impacts," he said.

According to the media release, the Ahmedabad Heat Action Plan helps its residents adapt to increasingly deadly heat through interventions that warn vulnerable groups and protect health during heat waves. The Plan was put to the test and proved effective during one of the worst heat waves in history that hit India in May this year.

Some of the successful interventions include raising awareness and outreach to vulnerable communities, increasing health care capacity to recognise and treat heat illness and coordinated early heat alerts issued by the local government, it said.

"We're seeing sweltering temperatures like those experienced in India during the May heat wave that exceed what the human body can cope with and adapt to," said Dr Kim Knowlton, senior scientist at NRDC.

"Climate change is already making heat waves even more frequent and severe. That's why municipal early warning systems and preparation plans like Ahmedabad's are so important to protect health and save lives during heat waves," he said.

The Ahmedabad model is now growing in cities across India, including Nagpur, Surat and Bhubaneswar increasing exponentially the number of people protected from dangerous temperatures.

Communities across the world are increasingly experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change - from droughts and heat waves to superstorms and flooding - and are working towards urban resilience solutions through clean energy and similar preparedness plans, the media release added.

Ahmedabad's Heat Action Plan is South Asia's first early warning system against extreme heat waves to help protect the citizens during these disasters. 

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