India: ADRA Monitors Lethal Heatwave Conditions

SILVER SPRING, MD (June 13, 2024) – The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is monitoring the ongoing and severe heatwave impacting millions in India. The organization is prepared to bring lifesaving aid to families impacted by what has been labeled the longest heatwave India has ever experienced, with scorching temperatures averaging 104 – 112 °F.

As monsoon rains remain below normal levels, the impact of drought is becoming acute, leading to crop failure, water scarcity, and economic distress for farmers and rural communities. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), weakening El Nino conditions are expected to contribute to an increase in heatwave days throughout the country during the April-June period. Regions such as Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Bihar are forecasted to endure extended periods of intense heat.

“As a result of the ADRA International needs assessment, we are implementing measures to support efforts to increase food security and livelihood support for affected populations through unconditional cash transfers to 280 households. Additionally, we are enhancing the capacity of shelter homes by providing essential amenities such as clean water, fans, and hydration kits to better equip them to deal with the challenges posed by heatwaves,” says Elizabeth Tomenko, ADRA’s senior emergency program manager. 

The Indian government is taking emergency measures to mitigate the impact of the worsening drought conditions. The Prime Minister has issued directives to ensure preparedness for the upcoming heatwave season. Emphasizing healthcare readiness and the timely dissemination of information in regional languages via television, radio, and social media platforms, the government aims to enhance public awareness and forest firefighting capabilities.  

Tragically, the unforgiving heat has resulted in the loss of nearly 100 lives and caused hundreds of heat-related illnesses. Furthermore, almost 9,800 forest fire alerts have been recorded, exacerbating the crisis.

In a significant development, the Union government has informed the Supreme Court that funds to address Karnataka’s drought, amounting to Rs 18,171.44 crore, have been approved by the Election Commission. This swift action ensures the provision of much-needed financial assistance to Karnataka in light of significant crop damage.

ADRA remains committed to the cause, working tirelessly to alleviate suffering and promote resilience in the communities affected by the devastating heat.

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About ADRA

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. ADRA’s purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended.

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