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Climate change may kill 400,000 children every year

Last updated on: November 30, 2009 19:18 IST

Climate change may kill 400,000 children every year

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In a new report, a leading charity has warned that climate change could kill more than 400,000 children every year in the future because of floods and droughts.

According to the Telegraph, the effects of climate change on children was compiled in a special report by a charity known as 'Save the Children' before the UN climate summit in Copenhagen.

The report was titled 'Feeling the heat: Child survival in a changing climate'.

It has warned that global warming could cause the death of a quarter of a million children next year as a result of natural disasters causing an increase in injuries, water-borne diseases and starvation.

By 2030, the figure will almost double to 400,000 unless more is done to help poor countries adapt to a changing climate.


Image: Children from flood-hit town Rosales, Pangasinan wait for the distribution of relief supplies by U.S. Marines.
Photographs: Erik de Castro/Reuters
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Climate change will also make it more difficult for children to attend school in affected areas and the charity warns of a rise in child labour in countries like Bangladesh as families struggle to survive.

There have already been reports of an increase in trafficking and child brides in areas where families are separated or forced into destitution by extreme weather patterns.

The charity warns that over 900 million children in the next generation will be affected by water shortages and 160 million more children will be at risk of catching malaria one of the biggest killers of children under five as it spreads to new parts of the world.

In the next 20 years, 175 million children a year will suffer the consequences of natural disasters like cyclones, droughts and floods.


Image: A girl drags containers to collect water at Dar El Salam, Cairo.
Photographs: Amr Dalsh/Reuters
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According to Alora Serdous, an emergency co-ordinator for Save the Children in Bangladesh, children are already suffering from treatable diseases and malnutrition in areas like southern Asia, that has been hit by cyclones recently as well as drought-ridden parts of East Africa.

"Climate change is the biggest global health threat to children in the 21st century," she said.

"Without concerted effort, millions of children will be at increased risk from disease, undernutrition, water scarcity, disasters and the collapse of public services and infrastructure," she added.


Image: Children ride on a makeshift raft on a flooded road brought on rains by typhoon Parma in central Dagupan city in northern Philippines.
Photographs: Erik de Castro/Reuters
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Source: ANI