Slum Dwellers Deal With The Heat | How slum dwellers deal with the heat can serve as an example

File Photo Munich: How people from low-income communities are coping with the heat in cities could set an example for future citizens suffering from extreme heat. As the world’s cities continue to heat up, authorities and governments often ask people to stay indoors or use refrigeration systems such as electric fans or air conditioners. But how do you follow this advice when your home is made of scrap metal and wood, your access to electricity is limited to about four hours per day, or your modest income is already spent on food and it needs to be cooled. Can’t be extended to? By the year 2050, more than a billion people, including those living in some of the poorest parts of the Earth, could face extreme heat unlike anything in recorded human history. Surveying 4,564 residents, experts are asking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): how will these populations adapt? An international team of anthropologists, geographers, engineers, urban planners, architects and epidemiologists is gathering some answers by studying how people in Karachi, Jakarta, Hyderabad and Douala are coping with the warming conditions. In these cities, many people do not have access to quality housing, water, electricity, shelter and sheds. The pandemic further limited them, forcing them to contend with illnesses during the cold season in addition to those associated with the heat. In a survey of 4,564 low-income residents, only seven reported having or using an air-conditioning unit in the home; And only 34% of respondents reported using an electric fan as a primary cooling method when it’s hot. About 40% of all respondents had access to electricity for less than 12 hours per day. There was also a shortage of water, which further decreased during Covid-19. It was closely linked to symptoms of heat-related illness, such as blurred vision. These strategies to keep cool don’t go waste. Among respondents surveyed in Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Cameroon, people with metal roofs were 43% more likely to go outside to escape the heat than those with other roofs. If we look at how they cope, they can set an example to deal with the scorching heat of the future. Such as increasing air flow or ventilation, taking shelter in shady places with roadside trees or urban infrastructure like flyovers. Other informal strategies include moving to neighbors or relatives and arranging water from their place. Many of these practices are rarely present in urban heat management plans by city authorities or governments. These strategies for keeping cool are not foolproof. They are enabled by a range of social, cultural, technological and economic structures that make them possible or acceptable. For example, women often have less access to shady and cool public places due to cultural norms and safety concerns when venturing out. Karachi, Jakarta, Hyderabad and Douala use water in very different ways as the heat rises. Bathing is the most common strategy in the Pakistani city of Karachi (about a fifth of the population uses this method), while the population in the Indian city of Hyderabad did not mention trying this method due to resource availability and other cultural reasons. Policy makers are drawing on low-tech, energy-efficient and water-efficient strategies already being used in low-income communities. Access to electricity is extremely important as it has to be considered when a fan can help and a small amount of water or ice can help keep the house or body cool. The assumption that basic needs like electricity, water and shelter are always available is not correct. The focus of policy should not be only on emergency provision of water, electricity and shelter during extreme heat. Extreme heat is not a one-time phenomenon. Globally, populations are affected throughout the year in every season. Availability of water, electricity and shelter at all times is extremely important. Access to electricity is extremely important. For example, informal electricity connections (directly through grid supply or neighborhood arrangements) have played an important role in providing energy and reducing heat exposure in low-income groups. Instead of stressing on action against ‘illegal connections’, the authorities should support community connections which ensure easy access as well as safety. Read also Many regions will not be like this by 2050 Low-tech interventions are not effective for climate change. The shade of a tree, the proper use of fans, or better ventilation of homes only works as long as outdoor conditions remain livable. By 2050, there will be no such situation in many areas. At the current 1-1.5°C range, we can still protect the poor globally from the heat, but not at 2°C, when temperatures become too high for the human body to tolerate. Staying below 1.5°C means low-tech devices are more likely to work. At higher temperatures, their effectiveness declines rapidly. Attention to everyday strategies is the foundation of reducing health risks from extreme heat now and in the future. However, this will be possible only if the temperature is limited to 1.5 degree Celsius. (agency)

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