Climate disasters hit poor children
Published 09/05/2011 | 00:42
Climate change is increasing the number of disasters which hit children in poor countries, campaigners have warned.
According to a study by Unicef, Plan International and Save the Children, there has been a steady increase in reported disasters linked to climate change over the past 10 to 20 years.
It warns that low-level frequent climatic disasters, including floods and droughts, which do not cause major humanitarian emergencies still hit children hard.
The report looked at eight countries which regularly experience such events, and found a link between an increase in disasters and diarrhoea, low birth weight and malnutrition.
In most of the countries children's education suffered because of disaster damage and illness keeping them from school, the charities said.
A second report by Unicef and Plan International warns that children in developing countries will be worst hit by climate change. Climate-related disasters could increase major killers of children including malaria, diarrhoea, hunger and malnutrition.
The charities called for investment to help children cope with disasters brought on by climate change - for example by building better schools which are strong enough to withstand cyclones and floods so their education is not disrupted by extreme weather.
David Bull, executive director of Unicef UK, called for a "Robin Hood" tax on financial transactions and levies on aviation and shipping fuels to raise money to help the world's poorest youngsters. He said: "Climate change is clearly increasing the number of disasters affecting children significantly.
"Children are not responsible for climate change, but are the most likely to feel its effects and are least prepared to deal with them. This is wrong. We must put this right.
"We must invest in preparing children for climate-related disasters so that more children do not die needlessly and are able to grow up, go to school and help to develop their countries."