Storms, floods, heat waves, droughts or persistent rain – the climate crisis is fundamentally changing our world. This has serious consequences, especially for the lives of the youngest. Around 720 million children worldwide are affected by the climate crisis.
The threat to children and their rights caused by climate change is not theoretical: it is real and urgent. The new report “Born into the Climate Crisis” shows this in an alarming way. According to the report, the number of climate-related disasters worldwide has doubled in the last twenty years compared to previous decades. Children born in 2020 will also experience, an average of twice as many forest fires, three times as many droughts and crop failures, three times as many floods and seven times as many heat waves as children born in 1960.
The climate crisis is the greatest threat to children and the realization of their rights across borders and generations. At its core, the climate crisis is a children's rights crisis.
In 2020, Greater Jakarta, Banten and West Java were flooded.
The climate crisis and its impact…
When storms or floods destroy people’s livelihoods, the poorest are hit particularly hard. The future chances of these children deteriorate further: among other things, many are affected by hunger, are unable to go to school, experience violence and conflicts, lose their livelihoods or have to flee due to the events. These children have inherited problems that they did not create themselves.
… on health
In Burundi, East Africa, the drama of the climate crisis is particularly visible – this also shows Annabelle’s story. Together with her family, the 17-year-old lives in a remote mountain region of Burundi. About three years ago, they were caught in a landslide. They very barely escaped the mudslide that buried all their belongings. “It rained all evening. Suddenly a mountain collapsed near the house,” Annabelle explains. The family lost their sources of income such as their pottery and vegetable garden.
17-year-old Annabelle from Burundi, East Africa, lost her house and all her possessions in a landslide.
Often there is only enough for one meal a day, which usually consists of vegetables and bread. “Due to the landslide, it is no longer possible for us to grow food – that is why we are often hungry,” Annabelle continues. Annabelle is not an only case – more than 100’000 people have lost their homes in recent years due to floods, storms or landslides in Burundi.
This is how we support children like Annabelle
Annabelle and her family belong to a local child protection committee set up by Save the Children in cooperation with the local government. This way, the organization monitors the welfare of the children in the region and supports the parents.
Fewer rainfalls, critical water shortages and drought-like conditions – children in particular are the main victims of the worsening climate crisis in Somalia. Thirteen-year-old Muna is also strongly feeling the effects of climate change. Most people in her community had to move away in search of pasture and water for their livestock. In addition, Muna’s school was closed in August 2020 due to lack of water and salaries for teachers. She has not attended classes ever since. Nevertheless, she studies every day at home to rembember what she has already learned.
Muna does not want to forget what she has learned and studies at home every day
In Somalia, less than 50 percent of school-age children attend school. The climate crisis has significantly increased the number of those out of school – it is estimated that about three million children are not in school.
This is how we support children like Muna
Save the Children provides water, therapeutic food for malnourished children, emergency medical care and financial assistance to drought-affected communities. We also work with local governments to build the long-term resilience of communities to climate shocks.
… on poverty
Almost a year ago, hurricanes Eta and Iota hit Nicaragua. Within two weeks, the two storms devastated several countries in the region, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. The storms uprooted trees, covered roofs and caused rivers to burst their banks. “On the day of the hurricane, I was scared,” tells Mirna, who lives with her family in Nicaragua. “My family lost their entire house – the saddest thing was that I had no place to sleep anymore,” the 12-year-old remembers. However, the hurricanes also damaged the family’s crops – putting their livelihoods at risk. “We are wondering how we are going to secure our income. I am worried about my house and my family.”
Mirna and her family lost everything in both cyclones Eta and Iota.
This is how we support children like Mirna
Save the Children supports children like Mirna to overcome the consequences of devastating natural disasters. We support them by distributing food, clean drinking water, blankets and other essentials. We also provide families with materials such as crayons and colouring books to help children cope by playing and processing their feelings.