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UNICEF: Children to face climate change impact

New York: Of the 2.3 billion children in the world, 690 million children, who are living in places which are most prone to climate change, have more chances of global warming caused death, disease and poverty, reported UNICEF.

Climate change and global warming would make diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and malnutrition much more deadly. A very common cause of death now is hyperthermia, caused by heatwaves, which have increased in recent years and cause severe rashes, exhaustion, dehydration and cramps in young children and infants.

“Children will bear the brunt of climate change. They are already bearing a lot of the impact,” said one of the authors of the report, Nicholas Rees, a UNICEF policy specialist.

In the report titled ‘Unless We Act Now’, UNICEF said “Almost 530 million children live in extremely high flood occurrence zones”, mainly lying in Asia. In the other extreme, “nearly 160 million children live in areas of high or extremely high drought severity”, which are mostly in Africa.

When a place is hit by a drought or a flood, “a poor child and a rich child don’t stand the same chances”, said Rees.

Malnutrition and under-nutrition are being caused as a result of droughts affecting agriculture. This is causing half the deaths in the world among children below five.

Most vulnerable to floods are the Pacific islands, equatorial Africa, the Horn of Africa, along with coastal areas in South Asia, Caribbean and Latin America.

“Today’s children are the least responsible for climate change, but they, and their children, are the ones who will live with its consequences,” said Anthony Lake, the director of UNICEF.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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