9 May 2011

Two new reports from a coalition of charities, including UNICEF, show for the first time a direct link between climate-related disasters and an increase in some of the biggest killers of young children.

The first report for the Children in a Changing Climate Coalition charts a steady increase in reported disasters linked to climate change over the last two decades.

Children and Disasters: Understanding impact and enabling agency warns that frequent low level climate-related disasters, such as floods, cyclones and droughts, can have just as devastating an impact as a major emergency and can destroy much of the work that is done following larger scale humanitarian disasters.

The report looks at eight countries which regularly experience climate-related disasters, showing a direct link between an increase in recorded disasters and diarrhoea, low-birth weight, and malnutrition in children. In most countries, children's education also suffered due to damage caused by disasters and illness keeping children from school.

The second report, The Benefits of a Child-Centred Approach to Climate Change Adaptation, warns that children in developing nations will be the most affected by climate change-related disasters. Climate-related disasters could massively increase major killers of children, such as malaria, diarrhoea, and hunger and malnutrition.

"Climate change is clearly increasing the number of disasters affecting children significantly," said David Bull, Executive Director of UNICEF UK. "Children are not responsible for climate change, but are the most likely to feel its effects and are the least prepared to deal with them. This is wrong. We must invest in preparing children for climate-related disasters so that more children do not die needlessly."

Take action: ask the UK Goverment to get children climate ready by supporting a Robin Hood Tax and a tax on dirty shipping and aviation fuels.

Find out more about UNICEF UK's Get Children Climate Ready campaign

 
Three boys displaced by flooding peer from beneath a UNICEF tent at a temporary camp in Bihar State in India.  © UNICEF/ HQ07-1067/Rundrajit Das
Three boys displaced by flooding peer from beneath a UNICEF tent at a temporary camp in Bihar State in India. © UNICEF/ HQ07-1067/Rundrajit Das

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