Extreme heat risks disabled persons 2023


According to Reuters, a recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) investigation concluded that “left to cope with dangerous temperatures on their own,” disabled persons suffer bodily, social, and mental health problems from high heat.

According to the findings, some disabled persons are more prone to acquire heat-related health difficulties. In these times, staying home might lead to social isolation.

Jonas Bull, HRW’s associate disability rights researcher, told Reuters that inaccessible urban settings exacerbate this issue. The paper noted that disability requirements may be overlooked in heatwave emergency strategies.

Spain’s climate change strategy protects “vulnerable” people after last summer’s record-breaking heatwaves. The report said it did not contain disability-specific measures.

Severe heat creates mental, bodily, and emotional anguish in disabled persons

The Human Rights Watch research focused on European countries, but it suggests that disabled persons may face comparable challenges. Summer heat in India is life-threatening. On June 17, 18 Bihar districts experienced a “severe heat wave.” Outlook indicated 6-9 degrees above typical IMD temperatures. Heatwaves have killed almost 100 people in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar this month.

Last November, the World Bank warned of deadly heatwaves in India. It’s crucial to identify and incorporate vulnerable groups in action plan implementation. Recognizing and meeting their needs makes action plans and solutions more inclusive.

In extreme weather events caused by climate change, persons with disabilities, especially mobility impairments, are less able to respond. In a 2022 Health Policy Watch article, 75-year-old Hyderabadi Vishnu Kumar, who had a paralytic stroke three years earlier and is bedridden and wheelchair-bound, described how high heat affects him. He added regular power outages and strong heat zaps sap his vitality and pain.

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