With mercury levels rising in Kerala, Kozhikode district collector Sambasiva Rao has issued a strict directive asking people to stop all outdoor work between 11 am and 3 pm for the next 15 days.
The collector also warned that stringent action would be taken by the police along with the labour department against those who violated the directive. Cases may also be registered under the Disaster Management Act against those who violate the directive.
In Anganwadis in the district, pre-school activities will be closed but everything else will continue running. Food prepared in Anganwadis should be sent to the houses of children, the collector stated.
Additionally all roadside shops must provide drinking water to public. The collector also added that all elderly homeless persons and pavement dwellers will be taken to old age homes with the help of the social justice department.
A toll free helpline number - 1077 - has also been set up to provide information about drinking water distribution.
Kerala is witnessing an extreme summer with over 70 cases of sunburn and 2 cases of sunstroke already reported in the state.
â€śPathanamthitta has been the worst affected district with around 23 cases being reported. 17 cases of sunburn has been reported from Palakkad,â€ť an officer from IDSP told TNM.
Earlier in March, Kozhikode experienced a heatwave situation and 12 cases of sunburn have been reported in the district since February, the officer added.
The temperature rise is also due to the increase of humidity in the state, says Fahadh Masook, hazard expert from KSDMA.
â€śWhen there is lesser humidity, the solar radiation hits the earth and is reflected back as infrared radiation. Humidity absorbs and retains this radiation which is why we experience increased discomfort. This phenomenon is called heat induction,â€ť he says.
Fahad also explained that a similar temperature rise was experienced in 2012 and 2016. However, the government only issued warnings from mid-March or April. This year, temperature variations of upto 4 degree celsius were recorded from February, Fahadh added.
Most sunburn victims have also identified to be farmers or fame labourers who were exposed to the sun rays from 12 pm to 3 pm.