Ahmedabad’s Pioneering Plan Now Shielding Millions from Killer Heat

Ahmedabad releases 6th annual Heat Action Plan; others adopt similar strategies to protect South Asians from climate-fueled scorching temperatures

AHMEDABAD, INDIA – Ahmedabad’s pioneering strategy to protect people from killer heat waves is rapidly catching on across India, and beyond, as more communities adopt their own Heat Action Plans to shield people from dangerously hot weather worsened by climate change.

In Ahmedabad today, the mayor, city leaders, and partners will release the city’s 6th annual Heat Action Plan, which builds on its key aspects, and discuss the growing participation by others in developing similar strategies.

The Ahmedabad plan has been so successful that the Indian government’s National Disaster Management Authority has notified 17 heat wave-prone states to develop similar heat protection plans and issued guidelines to help them.

Already, since Ahmedabad’s HAP launch in 2013, 11 states and about 30 cities in India have begun their own heat action plans. Further, leaders in other South Asian countries have expressed interest in developing their own multi-level strategies to shield people from killer heat waves, which have in recent years claimed thousands of lives.

“The Ahmedabad Heat Action Plan is a necessary step towards protecting our communities from extreme heat and a valuable model for future climate adaptation efforts in other communities across the world,” said Ahmedabad Mayor Gautam Shah.

The 2018 Ahmedabad Heat Action Plan released today features five key features:

  • Expanding the use of “cool roofs” - reflective paint on buildings citywide, which helps keep inside temperatures lower;
  • Increasing access to cool drinking water through a city distribution network;
  • Enhancing participation of religious groups to spread awareness of heat alerts through places of religious importance;
  • Expanding digital and media advertising to raise awareness of taking precautions during heat spikes;
  • More training of medical professionals to help protect patients in times of extreme heat.


Ahmedabad’s core Heat Action Plan has a comprehensive early warning system used during heat waves, a robust public education campaign about how to avoid harm from excessive heat, inter-agency coordination to alert residents of predicted high temperatures, training for health care professionals to prevent heat-related illnesses and death, and mapping of high-risk areas and communications.

The city’s Heat Action Plan also warns the public about extreme heat days on electronic display boards used for public notices. The messages are transmitted by orange and red alert warnings on the LED boards. The Indian Meteorological Department provides temperature forecasts.

The 2018 Heat Action Plan is being released by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, public health and international climate experts at the Indian Meteorological Department, Indian Institute of Public Health-Gandhinagar (IIPH-G), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which works in India on climate and health issues.

“India is showing the world that in our fight against climate change we can take smart steps right now to protect millions of people from deadly heat waves. AMC’s groundbreaking Heat Action Plan helped demonstrate that it’s feasible, cost-effective and sensible to create similar heat preparedness plans across Indian cities and states,” said Sayantan Sarkar of NRDC’s India Initiative.

In May of 2010, Ahmedabad suffered a major heat wave—temperatures exceeded 46.8°C (more than 116°F)—which led to 1,344 additional deaths that month, as compared to the 2009 and 2011 average. That served as a wakeup call that intergovernmental agency action, preparedness, and community outreach was needed to save lives, and prompted creation of its first Heat Action Plan.

With climate change temperatures have been rising in India, putting millions at risk for heat-related illnesses.

“Ahmedabad’s innovative model for preparing vulnerable populations for rising temperatures, such as school children, the elderly, the poor and outdoor laborers, has been very effective,” said Dr. Dileep Mavalankar, director of the Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar, one of the coalition partners who first developed the Ahmedabad Heat Action Plan.

 “As an international partner, I am proud to work with the Indian government to scale cutting-edge and low-cost solutions that address climate change and save lives across South Asia. The Ahmedabad Heat Action Plan and plans from other cities demonstrate India’s leadership,” said Anjali Jaiswal, director of NRDC’s India Program.

Ahmedabad’s 2018 Heat Action Plan is here: https://www.nrdc.org/resources/rising-temperatures-deadly-threat-preparing-communities-india-extreme-heat-events

A blog by Anjali Jaiswal and Sayantan Sarkar on the heat action initiative is here: https://www.nrdc.org/experts/anjali-jaiswal

A fact sheet on expanding heat action plans in India is here: https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/india-heat-resilient-cities-ib.pdf

A how to manual and city resilience tool kit is here: https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/ahmedabad-resilience-toolkit.pdf

An interim cool roofs issue brief is here: https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/cool-roofs-extreme-heat-ib.pdf

The National Disaster Management Authority’s heat guidelines are herehttp://www.ndma.gov.in/images/guidelines/heatwaveguidelines2017.pdf


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC and @NRDC_India.

The Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar (IIPHG) is a leader on public health education, advocacy and research on public health. IIPHG pushes the mandate of equity in public health, applying strategy, resources and networks to the issues and practice of public health in India. IIPHG’s programs aim to make education and research activities relevant to India in content and context. http://www.iiphg.edu.in/

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