Millions of Bangladeshi children at risk from climate crisis, warns UNICEF

UNICEF/Akash A child wades through water on her way to school in Kurigram district of northern Bangladesh during floods in August 2016.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


More than 19 million children in Bangladesh are at risk from devastating floods, cyclones and other environmental disasters linked to climate change, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Friday in a new report

According to the study – Gathering Storm: Climate change clouds the future of children in Bangladesh – the country’s flat topography, dense population and weak infrastructure make it “uniquely vulnerable to the powerful and unpredictable forces that climate change is compounding”.

The threat is felt from the flood and drought-prone lowlands in the country’s north, to its storm-ravaged coastline along the Bay of Bengal, it explains.

Today, around 12 million of the 19.4 million children most affected by climate change live in and around the powerful river systems which flow through Bangladesh and regularly burst their banks.

“The danger that is represented by flooding is extreme and it is almost on an annual basis,” Mr. Ingram said. “The last major floods to hit Bangladesh were in 2017 when something like eight million people were affected by a series of flooding events that took place.”

The major flooding of the Brahmaputra River described by Mr. Ingram inundated at least 480 community health clinics and damaged some 50,000 wells, which are essential for meeting communities’ safe water needs.

“This had an enormous effect not just in terms of displacing families and pushing them out of their homes,” Mr. Ingram said, in addition to the “destruction that it caused to health facilities and to basic services like water and sanitation”.

In addition to at-risk communities living close to rivers, another 4.5 million children who live in coastal areas are regularly struck by powerful cyclones.

This includes almost half a million Rohingya refugee children who began fleeing neighbouring Myanmar in August 2017, and who now live in bamboo and plastic shelters, UNICEF’s report explains, noting that a further three million children live further inland, where farming communities suffer increasing periods of drought.

Rising sea levels and unchecked salt water intrusion are also a serious threat to pregnant women, according to the UNICEF report, which underlines the link between high salinity in drinking water and an increased risk of grave medical conditions including preeclampsia and hypertension, identified among mothers-to-be at the coast.

One of the consequences of the country’s long struggle with the elements is a spike in the number of families leaving rural areas and heading for major cities such as Dhaka and Chittagong, where children’s rights are frequently violated.

“There are already something like six million climate refugees in Bangladeshi cities and that number is growing fast,” Mr. Ingram said.

He described “brutal surroundings” where children “are forced to essentially fend for themselves, while many children are “pushed into very hazardous forms of child labour. Many girls who end up being pushed into taking early marriages because their families can no longer look after them. And there are other girls that also end up in what is clearly a flourishing and expanding sex trade in the cities.”

Highlighting the resilience of Bangladesh’s poorest communities who are those most at risk from the “deepening” climate threat, the UNICEF official noted that more than 1,500 youth activists in the south of the country are increasingly involved in raising awareness about the climate crisis.

Working in coastal and climate-vulnerable regions across the country, members of YouthNet spread messages on disaster preparedness, water and sanitation, menstrual hygiene, gender-based violence and child marriage.

“We wonder how on earth they can survive, and yet there is the sense also that society is pulling together,” Mr. Ingram said. “They have really learned a lot over the term of their last climate change strategy which the Government instituted in 2009, and which is now being renewed.”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Refugee crisis update: EU still lacks solidarity as Hungary and Slovakia refuse to accept EU Court’s decision

Technology is a force for peace and prosperity. Don’t let its challenges obscure this

Angola’s President João Lourenço calls for stronger EU-Africa cooperation

European Business Summit 2013: Where Business and Politics shape the future

Doctors are humans too: the benefits of embracing your mental status

China-EU Relations: Broader, Higher and Stronger

Advanced economies still have plenty of work to do to reach Sustainable Development Goals

Libya: EU efforts should focus on protecting migrants, MEPs say

‘Urgent need’ to stop Mali violence with ‘effective’ military response: UN expert

UN chief announces progress on committee to shape Syria’s political future

This Indian school accepts plastic waste instead of fees

Syria: ‘Deplorable’ violence in Idlib against civilians, humanitarian workers must ‘stop immediately’: UN Coordinator

2019 EU Budget: Commission proposes a budget focused on continuity and delivery – for growth, solidarity, security

Taliban-led violence during recent Afghan polls leaves record high numbers of civilians dead – UN

Humanitarian Aid: EU mobilises €6 million for people in need in Colombia

US and Mexico child deportations drive extreme violence and trauma: UNICEF

This is Amsterdam’s ambitious plan to turn its transport electric

Syria: Why did the US-Russia brokered ceasefire collapse? What does the duo care for?

The EU wants to create 10 million smart lampposts

Copyright: MEPs update rules for the digital age

UN welcomes ‘record’ Brussels conference pledge of nearly $7 billion to support Syrians

This fascinating map shows how food moves around the US

Development aid drops in 2018, especially to neediest countries

How climate change exacerbates the refugee crisis – and what can be done about it

Entrepreneurial leadership: what does it take to become a leader?

Why banks escape from competition rules but not pharmaceutical firms

How cultural understanding can help in the cultural shock

Dangerous Trumpism in the Middle East with an anti-European edge

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is redefining the economy as we know it

More than nine in ten children exposed to deadly air pollution

What can Darwin teach the aviation industry about cybersecurity?

DR Congo: Ebola outbreak spreads to eastern ‘no-go’ zone surrounded by rebels

UN rights office calls on Zimbabwe Government to end ‘crackdown’ in response to fuel protests

Rise in violent conflict shows prevention ‘more necessary than ever’: UN chief

Erasmus+ 2021-2027: more people to experience learning exchanges in Europe

Warsaw wins 2020 Access City Award for making the city more accessible to citizens with disabilities

The global economy isn’t working for women. Here’s what world leaders must do

These are the challenges facing India’s most sacred river

How can consumers be effectively protected from insurance sellers?

5G networks: to slice or not to slice?

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: sexual violence in conflict, a malaria vaccine trial, updates on Libya, Ebola in DR Congo, Sri Lanka and Mali

New UN rights chief pledges to push back on ‘centuries of prejudice and discrimination’

SMEs and micro firms sinking together with south Eurozone

Voice tech and the question of trust

These countries have the highest minimum wages

A new kind of company is revolutionising Africa’s gig economy

How this one change can help people fight poverty

Preventing and resolving conflicts must form ‘backbone’ of collective efforts – UN chief

The crunch ‘COP 24’ UN climate change conference: what’s at stake and what you need to know

THE ROAD TO GANESHA

‘Step backwards’ for Bosnia’s autonomous Serb region as assembly reneges on Srebrenica genocide report

Bank resolutions to remain a politically influenced affair

UN chief urges top digital tech panel to come up with ‘bold, innovative ideas’ for an ‘inclusive’ future

European Commission steps up protection of European intellectual property in global markets

Artificial Intelligence: a danger to mankind, or the key to a better world?

Governments urged to put first ever UN global migration pact in motion, post-Marrakech

St. Vincent and the Grenadines breaks a record, as smallest ever Security Council seat holder

CO2 emissions around the world

How wealthy people transmit this advantage to their children and grand children

4 reasons cities should embrace Universal Basic Income

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s