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  • 28 October, 2022

  • 6 Min Read

Impact of Heatwaves on Children: UNICEF

Impact of Heatwaves on Children: UNICEF

  • In a recent report titled "Coldest Year of the Rest of Their Lives - Protecting children from the escalating impacts of heatwaves," UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) predicted that by the year 2050, nearly all children worldwide would be exposed to more frequent and severe heat waves.
  • The United Nations (UN) has a special programme called UNICEF that supports national initiatives aimed at enhancing children's health, nutrition, education, and welfare in general.

What conclusions does the UNICEF report reach?

Present Situation:

  • Around 624 million children are exposed to one of the other three high heat measures, including high heatwave duration, high heatwave severity, and extremely high temperatures, while approximately 559 million children are exposed to high heatwave frequency.
  • By 2020, one in four children resided in areas where the typical heatwave event lasts 4.7 days or more.
  • By 2050, this proportion will increase to more than three in four children in a low-emission scenario.
  • Children experience heatwaves that last longer in southern, western, and south-eastern Asia, eastern, and southern Europe, and northern Africa.

Future Effect

  • By 2050, there will be over two billion children who have experienced extreme heat waves, up from 24% in 2020.
  • With an estimated 1.7°C of warming in 2050, practically every child on the planet will experience extreme heat waves.
  • 94% of children will be exposed to high heatwave duration at 2.4 degrees warming, with only a few small areas of southern America, central Africa, Australasia, and Asia being spared.

Children are more vulnerable than adults:

Children are more susceptible to heat injury during heat waves that last longer than adults because they spend more time outdoors participating in sports and other outdoor activities.

Health Effects:

  • Increased mental health issues in kids and teens, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, have been linked to high temperatures.
  • The education and future livelihoods of children will essentially be impacted by extreme heat.
  • The following health risks are associated with heatwaves: heat stroke, heat stress, allergy, chronic respiratory conditions, asthma, diseases carried by mosquitoes, cardiovascular disease, undernutrition, and diarrhoea.

Children's Safety at Risk

  • As pastures and household income dwindle, communities are forced to search for and compete for food and water resources. Children face serious risks of physical harm and violence as a result of the migration, displacement, and conflict that result.

[Note: In July 2022, organisations supported by the UN published guidelines to create the first-ever global policy framework to safeguard children who have been uprooted by climate change.]

  • It includes nine principles that address the particular vulnerabilities of uprooted children.
  • The principles are informed by current operational frameworks and guidelines and are based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

What suggestions are made?

  • The need to ensure that the most vulnerable have the means to access the vital social services necessary to safeguard them.
  • Nations must take immediate action by: defending children from the effects of climate change by promoting social services
  • educating children about the effects of climate change
  • children and young people as a priority in climate finance and resources
  • preventing a global warming disaster by lowering greenhouse gas emissions
  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's 27th Conference of Parties (COP-27) must make progress on loss and damage by putting children's resilience and that of their communities at the forefront of discussions on action and support.

What Other Related Indices Exist?

Climate Risk Index for Children: UNICEF:

  • It ranks nations according to how exposed and vulnerable children are to climatic and environmental shocks, such as heatwaves and cyclones, based on their access to basic services.

ND-GAIN Index: Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative

  • It has demonstrated how children all over the world are affected by climate change.
  • It explains that a combination of these factors, including food shortages, diseases and other health risks, water scarcity, and risk from rising water levels, will have an impact on the children.

Read Also : Global Climate Risk Index 2021

Source: Down To Earth


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