Extreme weather events plunged more than 27 million children into acute food insecurity in 2022, in 12 of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, the NGO Save the Children announced on Tuesday.
This figure is 135% higher than in 2021, according to a data analysis published by the British charity ahead of the UN Climate Conference (COP 28), which opens in Dubai on Thursday.
Children account for almost half of the 57 million people in food crisis in these 12 countries in 2022 due to drought, floods, and other extreme weather events, according to data from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an initiative supported by the UN and various NGOs and international institutions to describe the severity of food emergencies.
Of the 12 countries, Ethiopia and Somalia were home to almost half of the 27 million children facing these levels of food insecurity, according to Save the Children.
“As climate-related weather events become more frequent and extreme, we will witness their increasingly brutal consequences on the lives of children,” warned Save the Children’s Executive Director, Inger Ashing.
The charity is calling on COP28 to take action against climate change, in particular by recognizing children as “key actors of change”, but also to take action against other causes of food insecurity, such as conflict prevention or strengthening health systems.
In Somalia, notes the NGO, recent torrential rains accompanied by severe flooding have driven 650,000 people from their homes, around half of them children.
In Pakistan, more than two million children are still undernourished after floods hit a third of the country in 2022.
On a global scale, Save the Children estimates that one in three children worldwide (774 million) lives in poverty while exposed to extreme weather events.
In a report published last week, Save the Children indicated that by 2023, 17.6 million children have been or will be facing hunger from birth.
Africanews with AFP