Extreme weather conditions caused the displacement of nearly 20,000 children every day in the past six years across the world, according to a new report by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The study also found that weather-related disasters resulted in the internal displacement of 4.3 crore children across 44 countries in the world in the past six years.
The report titled ‘Children Displaced in a Changing Climate’ was released on Friday, October 6. This is the first global analysis of the number of children driven out of their homes between 2016 and 2021 due to floods, storms, droughts and wildfires, according to UNICEF.
As per the analysis, China and the Philippines are the countries that have recorded the highest number of child displacements due to extreme weather conditions. In addition to that, children living in small and isolated island states such as Dominica and Vanuatu were affected by the storms while children in Somalia and South Sudan were impacted heavily due to the floods.
Out of these recorded 4.3 crore displaced children, 4 crore or approximately 95 percent were affected due to floods and storms between 2016 to 2021. Apart from this, over 13 lakh children have been impacted due to the droughts while the wildfires have resulted in the displacement of 8.1 lakh children.
The Executive Director of UNICEF, Catherine Russell said, “It is terrifying for any child when a ferocious wildfire, storm or flood barrels into their community.”
“For those who are forced to flee, the fear and impact can be especially devastating, with worry of whether they will return home, resume school, or be forced to move again. Moving may have saved their lives, but it’s also very disruptive,” she added.
While asserting that the countries have the tools and knowledge to respond to the escalating challenge for children, the response has been slow.
UNICEF has used a disaster displacement risk model for this study, which has been developed by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. This model has reported that extreme-weather conditions have the potential to displace almost 9.6 crore children over the next 30 years as per the current climate data. However, the numbers may rise if the frequency or severity of such weather events increases.