19m BD children at frontline of climate change disasters: UN
Published : Wednesday, 23 October, 2019 at 12:00 AM Count : 84
Over 19 million children, a quarter of them under 5, across Bangladesh are at the frontline of climate change disasters, a UN report says mentioning that climate change threatens child nutrition in the country.
The government of Bangladesh will begin the second phase of its 'Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan' this year putting greater emphasis on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable, according to the report. The plan will be demanding more attention and resources to ensure that child nutrition, health, education, social protection and other services are shielded from the effects of climate change.
Floods and river erosion are driving families to city slums that are already overcrowded and have lack of access to adequate health and adequate nutritious food, especially during first 1,000 days, education, sanitation, hygiene and safe water, according to the UNICEF report titled 'The State of the World's Children (SOWC) 2019: Children, food and nutrition - Growing Well in a Changing World'.
In slums, children must often fend for themselves and are at greater risk of malnutrition, child labour, child marriage and exposure to pollution, violence and abuse, according to the South Asia section of the global report.
Extreme climatic events such as drought and flash floods cause severe agricultural losses, it says. In a country where 60 per cent of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood, this means children from the poorest families are most likely to go hungry, the report said.
The reduced production also leads to an increase in food prices, hitting the poorest families the hardest.
A rise in communicable and non-communicable diseases linked to changing climate conditions and unplanned urbanisation also threatens children and their families, the UNICEF report read. These include diarrhoea, hepatitis A, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, dengue and chikungunya fever.
UNICEF's flagship report examines the issue of children, food and nutrition, providing a fresh perspective on a rapidly evolving challenge. This report also provided new data and analyses of malnutrition in the 21st century and outlines recommendations to put children's rights at the heart of food systems.