Depts on high-alert after severe heatwave forecast in Punjab

Published May 14, 2022
A minor student covers face with a piece of cloth to save herself from the scorching heat while returning home from school. (Right) A tanker parked on a city road to provide drinking water to citizens in view of sudden rise in temperature.
A minor student covers face with a piece of cloth to save herself from the scorching heat while returning home from school. (Right) A tanker parked on a city road to provide drinking water to citizens in view of sudden rise in temperature.

LAHORE: Following heatwave forecast by the meteorological department for the next week, the Punjab government on Friday put on alert all the relevant departments in the province, asking them to take measures to minimise the impact of the hot spell.

Issuing alert to various departments, Punjab Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Afzal said the provincial and district disaster management authorities had been activated across the province to prevent health-related incidents in view of a severe heatwave forecast.

He said hospitals and Rescue 1122 emergency service had also been put on high alert.

The chief secretary mentioned that temporary water-drinking points and early response centres should be established in vulnerable areas.

He appealed to the citizens to take all precautionary measures to protect themselves from the heatwave and follow the advisories issued by health department.

Earlier, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) had issued a warning regarding severe heatwave conditions during the next week in upper, central and south Punjab.

The Met office says a high pressure is likely to grip the upper atmosphere from Sunday.

Due to the high pressure, the day temperatures are likely to increase gradually in most parts of the country from Sunday.

Due to heatwave, day temperatures are likely to increase by 7-9 degrees Celsius above normal in upper Punjab, while 6-8 degrees C above normal in the central and south Punjab.

The authority issued an advisory to all concerned quarters directing them to keep medical services, paramedics and rescue departments alert and instruct them to maintain the requisite facilities such as heatstroke centres and launch public awareness campaigns about the situation. It said the public should be asked to avoid direct exposure to sunlight and consume ample water.

It also sought coordination among the concerned departments and officials, including tourism secretary and additional inspector general of traffic police, for issuing necessary alerts to travelers, especially those intending to cover long distances, to take precautionary measures, including avoiding excessive air pressure in tyres and overheating of vehicles. It also asked them to inform farmers regarding requirement of extra water for standing crops under such weather conditions.

It directed that the livestock and dairy development secretary should ensure that dairy farmers and cattle breeders are warned of the situation and be asked to make arrangement for extra water for their cattle.

The authority also warned of stress on water reservoirs, crops and orchards because of the heatwave. High temperatures during the next week may increase demand for electricity and base flow in the rivers.

The authority also directed all concerned departments to remain alert and also take all necessary precautionary measures during the heatwave.

The concerned deputy commissioners are advised to keep operational the district emergency operation enters round the clock.

Meanwhile, the Lahore city administration has set up free drinking water service points for the citizens.

The service also involves the dissemination of awareness messages among the public visiting the points on combating the impact of the heatwave, according to officials.

The service was launched on Thursday by parking water tankers/boozers at 20 spots of the provincial metropolis. An official said that in a meeting on Friday, it was decided to enhance the water service spots from 20 to 26.

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2022

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