Stop talking, start acting, says Africa’s first extreme heat official

Stop talking, start acting, says Africa’s first extreme heat official

Rising temperatures are already killing people in Sierra Leone’s Freetown, says Eugenia Kargbo, who is planning how best to protect the hundreds of thousands living in informal settlements

When she was growing up, Eugenia Kargbo could have a leisurely stroll, jog or cycle around the streets of Freetown. But that easy life no longer exists in Sierra Leone’s capital for her two children. The city is so swelteringly hot that children run the constant risk of sunburn or heat rashes if they are outdoors for very long.

“Over the past 10 years, there has been a dramatic change,” says Kargbo, 34, who has been appointed as Freetown’s chief heat officer – the first such post in Africa and only the third globally, after Athens and Miami.

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