• Thursday, August 11, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

People of colour bear the brunt of deadly heatwaves in UK, says research

By: Shelbin MS

ONE in three people from minority ethnic groups in the UK are living in areas most exposed to extreme heat, compared with just one in 12 white people, experts have warned.

According to researchers at the University of Manchester and Friends of the Earth, almost 6 million people in the country are at risk from high temperatures with ethnic groups bearing the brunt of the hostile weather.
The proportion of people from minority backgrounds in high-risk neighbourhoods was 28 per cent, compared with a national average of 9.5 per cent.

The high risk areas are Birmingham, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Nottingham with substantial minority population.

“Our research … shows that the poorest people and people of colour are disproportionately impacted by extreme weather in England. This is true across the UK and internationally. The communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis also have the lowest carbon footprints – they have contributed the least but are being hardest hit by rising global temperatures,” Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at Friends of the Earth, was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

“Action is urgently needed to adapt frontline neighbourhoods to cope with extreme weather, with more green spaces and trees for shelter, home insulation to keep homes warm in winter and cool in summer, and air-conditioned community centres for people to get some respite from the heat.”

Experts say environmental justice must be at the centre of governments’ climate strategies.

“Action is urgently needed to adapt frontline neighbourhoods to cope with extreme weather, with more green spaces and trees for shelter, home insulation to keep homes warm in winter and cool in summer, and air-conditioned community centres for people to get some respite from the heat,” Childs was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

Researchers used benchmarks such as types of housing, environmental factors, demographics, and even crime rates to analyse the impact. A research by the BBC also supported the findings.

At least 13 people have died in Britain while swimming during a spell of record-breaking hot weather that sparked wildfires, damaged train tracks and triggered warnings that efforts to tackle climate change needed to be stepped up.

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