Environment

Over 710M children face climate change risks

Save the Children says 70% of countries facing high risk of climate change impact are in Africa

19.04.2021
Over 710M children face climate change risks

ANKARA

An estimated 710 million children living in 45 countries, mostly in Africa, are at the highest risk of experiencing the impact of climate change, Save the Children warned Monday.

“Floods, droughts, hurricanes and other extreme weather events will have a deep impact on vulnerable children and their families,” Save the Children warned ahead of a leaders’ summit on climate change starting on Earth Day (April 22), to be held by US President Joe Biden.

Citing an analysis it did regarding the issue, Save the Children announced the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN) data reveals that hundreds of millions of children under 18 are living in regions where climate change is extremely affecting their lives.

The ND-GAIN summarizes a country's vulnerability to climate change and other global challenges in combination with its readiness to improve resilience

“The impact of the crisis on food production is likely to lead to local food scarcity and price hikes, with devastating impacts on the poorest households,” Save the Children said.

Expressing his experience with climate change, 14-year-old Baptista in Mozambique said: “What I really can't forget is that I saw many houses falling because of too much rain and strong winds. I got scared.”

“I don't know why all that rain fell and there was a gale. I didn't like that because afterwards we were left homeless and without food,” Save the Children quoted him as adding while he and his three siblings struggled to recover ever since Cyclone Kenneth struck their town in 2019.

Save the Children explained that 70% of the countries facing a high risk of climate change impact are in Africa.

It added that impacts of climate change are worsening the already dire situation in Yemen, where armed conflict “has created severe food shortages, leaving millions of children at risk of hunger."

In Bangladesh, meanwhile, children are highly exposed to “ flooding, cyclones, and sea levels rise,” according to the report.

“Malaria and dengue fever already plague children in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Increasing extreme weather events can lead to new health risks while the health system is already limited,” the report voiced.


-Immediate action needed

In order to ensure that the affected children and their families can cope with the current and future climate shocks, Save the Children called on all governments to take immediate and drastic action, warning that “the impact of the climate crisis will likely hit millions more children in decades to come.”

The needed action includes acknowledging that “the climate crisis is a child rights crisis that affects children first and worst,” and to increase the climate change finance, and to “scale up adaptive and shock-responsive social protection systems - such as grants for pregnant mothers and children - to address the increasing impacts of climate change on children and their families.”

Climate change, according to the UN's definition, is "a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods."

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