‘Climate change puts one billion children’s lives at risk’

New UNICEF report reveals young people living in the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria and Guinea are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change

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Nearly half of the world’s children, an estimated one billion are living in one of the 33 countries classified as ‘extremely high risk’ because of climate change.

That’s according to the new landmark report by UNICEF, which suggests almost every child on Earth is exposed to at least one climate shock, including heatwaves, floods, cyclones, drought and air pollution.

The so-called Children’s Climate Risk Index shows nearly 920 million children are highly exposed to water scarcity, while almost 820 million kids’ lives are at risk because of heatwaves.

The authors of the report also say one-in-three children live in areas where at least four of these climate and environmental shocks overlap.

As many as 330 million children live in areas affected by at least five major shocks, the analysis also finds.

Based on data that analysed exposure to climate and environmental hazards, the report claims that young people living in the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau are the most at risk of the impacts of climate change.

Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, said: “For the first time, we have a complete picture of where and how children are vulnerable to climate change, and that picture is almost unimaginably dire.

“Climate and environmental shocks are undermining the complete spectrum of children’s rights, from access to clean air, food and safe water; to education, housing, freedom from exploitation, and even their right to survive. Virtually no child’s life will be unaffected.”