Summer 2021: Odisha SRC Asks Collectors For Preparedness To Tackle Heatwave

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Special Relief Commissioner wrote to Collectors of all districts to remain prepared with precautionary measures to tackle the heatwave situation during summer 2021.

Special Relief Commissioner Pradeep Jena requested the Collectors to take immediate steps to put in place all preparedness and precautionary measures at different levels in your district to meet the possible heatwave situations.

Some of the salient measures to be taken at your end are indicated below:

  • Public awareness is the key to check heat wave related illness and casualties. Hence, awareness campaigns may be taken up immediately to make the people aware about the risks associated with heatwave, identifying the risk, “Do’s and Don’ts” to protect oneself from the said risks and what to do if someone is affected. Civil Society Organizations may be widely involved in awareness campaign. On receipt of heatwave warming messages, besides other modes of communication, local media should be used to keep the public alert.
  • Water scarcity is often associated with heatwave situation which needs special attention. The District Administration is required to take advance steps to identify the water scarcity pockets (village/ hamlet/ ward wise) and prepare action plan for ensuring supply of water for drinking and other uses through tanker to those areas. Reports of water scarcity are to be responded to immediately.
  • Preventive maintenance of tube wells and piped water supply systems should start immediately, if not already taken up. Necessary arrangements may be put in place for attending to the complaints on functioning of tube wells and piped water supply systems.
  • Water Resources Department will take steps to release water through canals from reservoirs depending on requirement.
  • “Panya Jala Seva Kendras” (Drinking Water Kiosks) are required to be opened by Urban Local Bodies/ Gram Panchayats at market places, bus stands and other congregation points. Water provided in such water kiosks must be of portable quality and proper sanitation maintained including use of long handle dispensers and change of water daily. Sincere and willing Civil Society Organisations may be associated for this task. Agencies doing such work only for self-publicity and discontinuing the same after initial days should be avoided and dealt with strongly.
  • Construction/ repair of shallow vats may also be ensured for roaming livestock. F & ARD Department may take up suitable IEC measures on care of animals during summer to prevent them from heatwave.
  • This year, Schools, Colleges and other Academic/ Technical institutions may be required to continue classes during summer to compensate the loss due to COVID-19 pandemic although timing of classes and examinations may have to be rescheduled to morning hours. In case schools and educational institutions remain open, extra care has to be taken to ensure availability of drinking water in all Schools and Colleges. Wherever required, tube wells inside the school campus may be repaired to ensure uninterrupted drinking water supply. Sufficient ORS are also to be kept in schools, colleges and provided to students/staff requiring the same. Outdoor activities have to be restricted so as the Students not to be exposed to heatwave condition.
  • It has been brought to notice that some educational institutions, though have opened the schools after the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, have not resumed the transport facility. They may resume the transport service for the students/ staff so that they are not exposed to heatwave conditions.
  • Most importantly, all the parents should be sensitized to ensure that their children carry a water bottle while going to school/ college. This should be sufficiently publicized to create awareness among the parents.
  • Schools may also be advised to allocate some time during school hours to give heatwave precautionary tips to the students.
  • S & ME/ HE/ Skill Dev. & Tech. Education Department may issue detailed instructions on the above points.
  • Anganwadi Centres may remain open in morning hours only. Availability of potable water in all AWCs must be checked and ensured.
  • Sufficient life saving medicines, saline, ORS may be stored in dispensaries, PHCs, CHCs and Subdivision/ District Headquarters Hospitals to meet the requirement. Special arrangement may be made and separate wards/ beds be earmarked for treatment of heatstroke patients in different hospitals. The ESI Dispensaries may be directed to treat the general public. ORS should also be available with ASHA and AWWs.
  • All public transport vehicles must carry sufficient portable water and ORS packets to be provided to passengers/ staff requiring the same. During severe heatwave condition, timings of non-air-conditioned public transport services may have to be rescheduled avoiding their plying during peak hours of heatwave. However, while doing so, inconvenience likely to be caused to tong route passengers must be kept in mind. C & T (Transport) Department may issue detailed instructions in this regard.
  • The timing for engagement of labourers/workmen at worksites may be rescheduled. No work should be executed in peak hours during heatwave period. The employers must make necessary arrangements for supply of drinking water, ORS packets and provision of rest shed at the worksite. Labour & ESI Department may issue detailed instructions in this regard.
  • The Energy Department will issue instructions to the Distribution Companies to maintain uninterrupted power supply during summer months. In case, load- shedding is absolutely necessary in some areas, the schedule must be announced for information of consumers sufficiently in advance.
  • Awareness raising measures may be taken up on the concept of cool roof technology Le., white painting of roofs to reduce the indoor atmospheric temperature.
  • Members of Panchayati Raj Institutions in the district may be sensitized and impressed upon to monitor the heat weve mitigation measures in their areas and observance of heatwave safety protocols by the people.
  • A meeting of the District Level Committee on Natura! Calamities/ District Disaster Management Authority may be convened to review the preparedness of the District Administration to manage the contingency of Heat Wave and necessary further measures be taken as per advice/ direction of the committee/ authority.
  • The Collector may depute Senior Officers to verify and ensure necessary arrangements in medical institutions, schools, colleges, Anganwadi centres etc.
  • All out effort should be made to see that no human causality occurs due to heatwave. However, if any information on casualty is received or news report published in media, it should be immediately enquired into and the veracity of such reports should be promptly reported to this office.
  • Where reports regarding death of a person due to sunstroke either at workplace or any other area are received, the collector should arrange to conduct immediate joint enquiry of the case by the local Revenue Officer like Tahsildar of Additional Tahsildar (in rural areas) or any other Revenue Officer in Urban areas (authorized by concerned Sub-Collector) and the local Medical Officer (to be nominated by the CDMO/ SDMO). The joint enquiry report with counter signature of Collector should reach this office within 48 hours of the reported death. This is to be ensured by all Collectors unfailingly, A copy of the letter No.895/SR dt.27.4.05 containing the procedure for enquiry into the reports of alleged sun-stroke deaths is enclosed for ready reference.
  • Where, upon enquiry, the death is confirmed to have occurred due to sunstroke, immediate steps shall be taken to process the case in DAMPS for sanction and payment of ex-gratia to the bereaved family.
  • The control rooms at the State level and the District level shall function round the clock during the period of heatwave. The heatwave warnings issued by IMD should be tracked on regular basis and if necessary, Control Room of IMD/ State EOC may be contacted for such information.
  • During heatwave period, a Calamity Management Group under the leadership of the Collector should review the situation as well as relief measures every day and a daily situation report be sent by the Collector to the office of Special Relief Commissioner.
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