Report: 16m children suffering from poverty and climate change

Wednesday, November 9th, 2022 01:47 | By
Children eating food. PHOTO/Courtesy/

About 16,308,563 children across Kenya, 67 per cent of the country’s children are reeling from the dual impacts of poverty and climate change, a new report has revealed.

The report Generation Hope: 2.4 billion reasons to end the global climate and inequality crisis by Save the Children with climate modelling from researchers at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) found that, while 21,242,162 children in Kenya are estimated to be affected by at least one extreme climate event a year, some of them are at particular risk because they are living in poverty and so have fewer resources to protect themselves and recover.

“The climate emergency and issues of inequality are deeply connected, and cannot be dealt with in isolation from each other. In Kenya, this connection could not be any more obvious. The devastating drought we’ve seen in Kenya and the larger Horn of Africa is the worst in 40 years and has hit the poorest parts of the country hardest, leaving millions of people hungry and many displaced. Crises like these push people even deeper into grinding poverty and leave millions of people even more vulnerable to the next flood or drought,” said Yvonne Arunga, Kenya and Madagascar Country Director.

High climate risk

According to the report, globally 774 million children, or one-third of the world’s child population are living with the dual impacts of poverty and high climate risk while in Africa more than 150 million children across East and Southern Africa are impacted by this double burden.

South Sudan tops the list of countries in the region most likely to face this “double threat”, with 87 per cent of children in the country affected, followed by Mozambique (80 per cent) and Madagascar (73 per cent). Kenya ranks 10th highest (67 per cent) in the globe and third in East and Southern Africa in terms of the overall number of children facing this double threat.

India has the highest total number of children both living in poverty and bearing the brunt of the climate crisis up to 223 million children in total. It is followed by Nigeria and Ethiopia, with 58 million and 36 million children, respectively, living with this double burden.

“Climate and inequality crisis is a risk-multiplier, eroding children’s and communities’ resilience to shocks. If it is not urgently addressed, the frequency and severity of humanitarian and cost of living crises are set to increase in the years ahead,” reads part of the report.

Higher-income countries are not immune from this “double threat”. The report found that about 121 million children facing both climate disasters and poverty live in higher-income countries. More than four out of ten children affected (12.3 million) live in either the US or the UK.

“As leaders attend the COP27 and prepare to travel for the G20 summits later this month, our most vulnerable children should be at the forefront of their minds.  the report states.

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