Recent climate change studies suggest a series of alarming predictions:
- a five degree increase in temperature by 2080;
- risk of hunger for some 50 million people by 2010;
- risk of flooding for millions of people in Asia;
- an increased toll on countries already with high degrees of poverty;
- an increase in the number and intensity of hurricanes;
- more extensive droughts in sub-Saharan Africa;
- more variable and extreme climatic events in general.
In the Humanitarian Action Report 2009, with reference to a study, UNICEF states that children and women represent 65 per cent of all those who will be affected by climate related disasters every year in the next decade. Out of this, 175 million will be children.
Disaster risk-reduction measures including early warning, preparedness and response systems for national disasters – and thereby strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities are crucial to meet these challenges, says UNICEF.
Furthur, it was mentioned that in 2007, an estimated 850 million people suffered from undernutrition compared to nearly 950 million by now. Between May 2007 and May 2008, the food price index rose by 50 per cent, making it impossible for many families to afford basic foods for their children. While higher food prices will render children vulnerable to starvation and disease, its influence does not stop there. Higher food prices also increase the vulnerability of children in protracted conflicts caused by political disasters and HIV/AIDS. When families can’t afford basic food for their children they are often forced to take extreme measures, resorting to child labour and early marriage with greater frequency. At the same time, school attendance is likely to fall hence the learning capacity and future earning capacity as an adult will be lost .
Visit http://www.unicef.org/har09/index.html for the full report.