JUBA – South Sudanese children are increasingly exposed to heat waves as well as face risk of catching water-borne diseases due to impact of climate change, revealed the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report on Thursday.
The report dubbed “The Climate Crisis Is a Child Rights Crisis: Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index” ranks South Sudan 7th out of 33 countries globally, whose children face exposure to devastating effects resulting from climate change environmental shocks.
The report said that climate change is a threat, education, and protection of South Sudanese children.
The first comprehensive analysis of climate risk to children by UNICEF ranks countries based on children’s exposure to climate change and environmental shocks such as cyclones and heat waves as well as vulnerability to those shocks based on their access to essential services.
It disclosed that 1 billion children live nearly half of the world’s 2.2 billion children live in one of 33 countries classified as “extremely high risk”.
“The climate crisis is a child’s rights crisis and in South Sudan, where two out of three children are unable to access even their most basic rights, outcomes could be catastrophic,” said Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF Country Representative.
“South Sudan is becoming a more dangerous place for children to live, but if we act now we can prevent it from becoming worse,” Lasseko added.
He urged the government to invest in social services, particularly in water, sanitation, hygiene, child health, and nutrition to help to safeguard children’s futures from the impacts of climate change.
“If we invest to make the services they depend upon to survive and thrive – such as water, healthcare, and education – resilient, it will help to protect their futures from the impacts of a changing climate and degrading environment.”
“The children of South Sudan know climate change is a threat to their future, and they are calling on the world leaders to act. So far, too little has been done, but we still have time. We must urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions and work as a global community to build a better world for all children,” said added.
“In South Sudan, we suffer a lot from climate change, and we are facing this in our daily lives. A lot of areas get flooded with water and a lot of children die in the flood. And because of cutting down trees, the floods are increasing. Droughts are also making it hard to get food. It destroys plants and crops,” said Wendy Ahonda, a UNICEF South Sudan Child Reporter.
Without the urgent action required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, children will continue to suffer the most, the UN report warned.
Compared to adults, children require more food and water per unit of their body weight, are less able to survive extreme weather events, and are more susceptible to toxic chemicals, temperature changes, and diseases, among other factors.
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