According to a new report by UNICEF, In the past six years, a shocking 43 million children around the world have been forced to leave their homes and schools because of extreme weather caused by climate change. This means that, on average, 20,000 children have been displaced every single day.
Floods and storms are the biggest reasons for this displacement, accounting for 95% of the cases between 2016 and 2021. Droughts and wildfires have also pushed over a million children from their homes, with Somalia being one of the hardest-hit places.
Countries like China, the Philippines, and India saw the most children displaced in absolute numbers, mainly because they are prone to extreme weather events. But smaller island nations like Dominica and Vanuatu had the highest percentage of their child populations affected. Somalia and South Sudan were hit hardest by floods.
Children suffer a lot when they’re forced to leave their homes. They miss school, important healthcare, making their lives very hard. This problem is even worse in countries already dealing with problems like wars and poverty.
The future looks grim too. The report predicts that in the next 30 years, nearly 96 million children could be displaced by riverine floods alone. Cyclonic winds and storm surges could force another 10.3 million and 7.2 million children to leave their homes. These numbers are likely to get worse as climate change makes extreme weather more common.
As leaders get ready for the COP28 Climate Change Summit, UNICEF is urging them to protect children from these disasters. They want services like education and healthcare to be ready for children who have to leave their homes. They also want children to be prepared for a world with more climate problems, and they want policies and investments to focus on children who are already displaced.
This report shows that we need to act quickly to help the millions of children affected by climate change. If we don’t, their lives will continue to be turned upside down by disasters they had no part in causing.