Deadly heat from cli­mate change may hit slums hard­est

Business World - - WEEKENDER -

Re­searchers posted 50 ther­mome­ters on trees and wooden posts, most in shaded ar­eas.

At the Kenya Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal De­part­ment head­quar­ters, in a grassy, wooded area, av­er­age day­time tem­per­a­ture was 78° Fahren­heit (25°C).

In the slums, the av­er­age was nearly 82° (27.7°C) in Kib­era, 85° (29.4°C) in Mathare, and 87° (30.5°C) in Mukuru.

The higher tem­per­a­tures found in the study are “cer­tainly con­sis­tent with ex­cess deaths,” said lead author Anna Scott, a cli­mate sci­en­tist in the De­part­ment of Earth and Plan­e­tary Sci­ences at Johns Hop­kins.

How­ever, re­searchers were un­able to quan­tify how many peo­ple are likely to die from heat waves in these ur­ban ar­eas, since many vari­ables are at play.

Up to 60% of Nairobi’s res­i­dents live in these in­for­mal set­tle­ments. — MI­AMI — With sheet metal roofs, con­crete floors, poor ven­ti­la­tion, and spotty elec­tric­ity, crowded ur­ban slums in Africa can ex­pect to get even hot­ter and dead­lier due to global warm­ing, US re­searchers said Mon­day.

Sci­en­tists at Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity an­a­lyzed three in­for­mal set­tle­ments in Nairobi, in­clud­ing the largest, Kib­era, home to nearly a mil­lion peo­ple.

Along the set­tle­ments’ nar­row al­ley­ways, mud- walled homes and metal roofs, they found sti­fling tem­per­a­tures, “be­tween five and nearly 10° Fahren­heit ( 2.7°- 5.5° C) higher than those re­ported at Nairobi’s of­fi­cial weather sta­tion less than half a mile away,” said the study in the jour­nal PLOS ONE.

The study was con­ducted by 11 re­searchers over the course of 80 days from late 2015 to early 2016, one of Nairobi’s hottest sum­mers since the 1970s.

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