Climate change: Over 110m Nigerian children at risk – UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said Nigeria is the second most vulnerable country worldwide in terms of children’s exposure to climate change, with over 110 million children confronted with harsh realities of rising temperatures.

 The UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate and the Chief of Field Office in Kaduna State, Gerida Birukila, made the disclosure separately in Kaduna and Gombe states, as part of activities to mark the 2023 World Children’s Day.

The day, established in 1954 as the Universal Children’s Day, is celebrated on November 20 each year to promote international togetherness, and awareness among children worldwide, and improve the children’s welfare. The global observance day was themed, “For Every Child, Every Right.”

She said Nigeria was the second worst country worldwide in terms of children’s exposure and vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, scoring 8.5 out of 10 on UNICEF’s Children’s Climate Risk Index (alongside Chad).

“Nigeria’s child population of more than 110 million accounts for 10 per cent of the 1 billion children worldwide who live in extremely high-risk countries from the effects of climate change.

“Nigerian children are disproportionately affected by climate change. Rising temperatures, flooding, drought and intense storms are the most serious climate-related threats to children in Nigeria.

“Among the direct health effects are physical dangers that lead to injury, heat stress, diminished access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services, and an increase in waterborne diseases such as cholera, diarrhea and malaria.”

Birukila added that environmental degradation and climate change also contributed to malnutrition due to a shortfall in food availability.

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