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Black residents of Richmond suffer disproportionately from heat-related illnesses, with many incidents occurring near cooling centers.

Charlie Paullin reports for ^ “Virginia Mercury”.

In summary:

  • A report by GeoHealth shows that black people in Richmond suffer from heat-related health problems more often than other groups.
  • The historic lack of investment in black neighborhoods contributes to higher temperatures and fewer cooling options.
  • Many heat-related incidents occur within walking distance of cooling centers, indicating accessibility problems.

Key quote:

“Spending even a few hours in a cooling center can help prevent heat-related illness, but many Richmond residents may not know these cooling centers exist or may not have a safe way to get there.”

— Peter Braun, a building policy analyst with the Richmond and Henrico Health District

Why this is important:

Urban heat islands and climate change are exacerbating health inequities, especially in underserved communities. Black residents, who often live in areas with less green space and more heat-trapping concrete, are particularly at risk. Their neighborhoods often lack adequate tree cover and have outdated infrastructure, further amplifying the urban heat island effect. This environmental injustice is leading to higher temperatures in these areas and exacerbating health risks for the population.