10.2.5.5. Human Comfort
McMichael et al. (1996) found a relationship between ambient temperature
and heat-related mortalities in Cairo, Egypt. This suggests a need to consider
building technology and building materials' thermal properties to produce
dwellings that are naturally climatically comfortable for tropical conditions.
In Africa, there is a tendency to construct dwellings that do not take account
of local climate because of inadequate natural ventilation and use of large
decorative glass surfaces. Similarly, urban planners need to consider landscaping
to avoid inner-city congestion that leads to unhealthy microclimate enclaves.
A combination of high temperatures and air pollution leads to increases in
respiratory complaints. Clean air policies would not only alleviate health hazards
but would be a contribution toward maintenance of the ozone layer in line with
the Montreal Protocol. Sudden imposition of stringent air quality standards
may cause undue strain to the economy, but graduated improvement of air quality
standards, at a pace the economy can absorb, will be beneficial in terms of
adaptation to climate change as well as general city health improvement.
10.2.5.6. Water Resources
Section 10.2.1 argues that future water resources for
subhumid regions of Africa will be in jeopardy under global warming conditions.
The impact of climate change to settlements, through the water resources pathway,
will have multiple manifestations in all walks of life.
Adaptive measures include incentives for a water conservation culture, such
as water pricing. However, many rural communities are not economically or culturally
attuned to commercialization of water resources, which normally are administered
in a common access mode. Commoditization of water resources as a strategy for
efficient water use is contingent on comparable growth of economic activity
and social well-being in all sectors of communities.
Land degradation has resulted in siltation thus disappearance of surface streamwater
resources (Magadza, 1984). States are encouraged to consider measures that will
rehabilitate streams, paying special attention to wetlands conservation, with
an added bonus of biodiversity conservation.
Industrial water cycling in Africa is poorly developed. Processes that maximize
water recycling should be encouraged.
At the regional level, there are beginnings of cooperation in interbasin transfers
from water-surplus areas to water-deficit areas; the proposed diversion of Zambezi
River waters toward the south is an example. Although this development will
enhance the status of water and other natural resources as tradable commodities,
the groundwork for legal regulation of water sharing between nations of the
region must be developed sooner rather than later to avoid situations of water-related
political tensions like those in the Middle East and north Africa (Caponera,
Section 10.2.4 draws attention to the possible health
implications of climate change and climate variability through vector- and water-borne
pathogens. In many African urban settlements, urban drift has outpaced the capacity
of municipal authorities to provide civic works for sanitation and other health
delivery services. The outbreak of cholera during recent floods in east Africa
and Mozambique underscores the need for adequate sanitation. It should be noted
that although the outbreaks were spread from as far north as Mombassa and Nairobi
in the north to Beira in the south, incidences remained localized to the outbreak
centers because of the isolated nature of the affected urban areas. If settlement
conglomerations such as those envisaged for west Africa and the eastern seaboard
of South Africa developas discussed by Nicholls et al. (1999)vulnerable
population and areas will tend to be regional, rather than local. Review of
sanitary facilities now rather than later will not only be beneficial to communities
now but in the long run will be cost saving for long-term health delivery services.
10.2.5.8. Food Security
Droughts in SSA often translate to famine, which leads to acceleration of urban
drift to cities that are not equipped to absorb such migrations. Although maintenance
of strategic food reserves is one coping mechanism, development policies increasingly
must create other investment opportunities in rural areas besides agriculture,
to diversify means of survival and, indeed, create rural wealth (De Lattre,
In semi-arid Africa, pastoralism is the main economic activity. Many pastoral
communities include transnational migrants in search of new seasonal grazing.
In drought situations, such pastoralists may come into conflict with settled
agrarian systems (Anon, 1992; Lado, 1995; Cousins, 1996). Students of pastoralism
note the lack of clear policies on pastoralists, who normally are marginalized
in state agricultural policies.