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Ahmedabad is trailblazer on heat resistance

Boys cool off on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India during a heat wave in May. The city has employed an early warning strategy for extreme heat that is now a model for other municipalities in India. (REUTERS/Amit Dave/LANDOV)

When it comes to making cities heat resistant, there’s plenty of hot air on the issue. Meredith Connolly blogs for the Natural Resources Defense Council that Ahmedabad, India is a rare example of a major metropolis that took action. The city, with an estimated 7 million residents, adopted a comprehensive Heat Action Plan in 2013 to establish an “early warning system.” The blueprint came in response to a 2010 heat wave that killed 1,300 people.

The plan is the first of its kind for South Asia, writes Connolly, the NRDC’s climate & energy attorney. It emphasizes emergency alerts, public awareness, reduced heat exposure and health care readiness.

Other Indian cities rely on Ahmedabad’s approach as a model for their preparations. They’ll need it, Connolly writes, given the searing conditions in the planet’s second most populous nation. Record temperatures, lack of air conditioning and freshwater resources, and ongoing migration into urban centers are worsening the problem, she warns.

Meanwhile, Ahmedabad’s scheme also could prove useful for cities in the U. S. and elsewhere that have failed to prepare for extreme heat. 

Natural Resources Defense Council

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