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Climate Crisis Drives More Children to Hunger

Save the Children's global survey highlights hunger as the top concern for children worldwide, emphasizing the urgency of the hunger crisis intensified by the climate crisis, conflict, and COVID-19. While adults prioritize hunger, children at COP28 stress the profound impact of climate change on their future

More than 27 million children were driven into hunger and malnutrition by extreme weather events in countries heavily impacted by the climate crisis in 2022, which was a 135% jump from the previous year, according to a new data analysis by Save the Children ahead of COP28.

Children accounted for nearly half of the 57 million people pushed into acute food insecurity or worse across 12 heavily impacted countries, challenging assumptions about the resilience of younger populations.

“These findings underscore the urgent need for global action to address the impact of extreme weather events on childhood hunger,” – Save the Children.

ESCALATING CRISIS

The Integrated Food Security Classification (IPC) scale indicates a doubling of people facing hunger in countries where extreme weather events are the primary cause, soaring from 29 million in 2018 to a concerning 57 million in 2022.

GEOGRAPHICAL CONCENTRATION

The majority of affected countries were concentrated in the Horn of Africa, with Ethiopia and Somalia contributing significantly to the 27 million affected children. “Somalia stands once again at the precipice, with extreme weather events exacerbating an already dire situation,” – Save the Children.

COUNTRIES IMPACTED

The 12 countries identified by the IPC where extreme weather events were the primary driver of hunger include Angola, Burundi, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Pakistan, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Somalia, facing consecutive failed rainy seasons, experiences severe flooding, displacing approximately 650,000 people, half of whom are children. The situation threatens to be as devastating as previous droughts that left millions hungry and malnourished.

GLOBAL RAMIFICATIONS

Pakistan, one of the heavily affected nations, witnessed extreme flooding affecting 33 million people, with over 2 million flood-affected children now acutely malnourished, highlighting the long-term consequences of climate-related disasters.

“Climate change inflamed hunger-related illnesses, pushing healthcare systems to their limits,” – Dr. Muhammad Hanif, who works at a healthcare unit run by Save the Children in Sindh Province—a region

COMPARISON WITH OTHER DRIVERS

While extreme weather events drove hunger for 57 million people, conflicts remained the primary driver for 117 million people in 19 countries last year. Economic shocks also saw an eight-fold increase, affecting about 84 million people in 2022.

CHILDREN AT THE CROSSROADS

Globally, an estimated 774 million children, representing one-third of the world’s child population, face the dual challenges of poverty and high climate risk, emphasizing the urgent need for comprehensive solutions.

“Children today not only face a climate emergency but a landscape of heightened inequalities, where hunger is an unwelcome guest at an already crowded table,” – Inger Ashing, Save the Children’s CEO.

CALL TO ACTION AT COP28

Save the Children urges world leaders, especially high-income countries, to prioritize children’s rights in climate finance. The organization emphasizes the necessity of robust support for the new Loss and Damage Fund and urgent measures to limit global warming.

“Without tackling the climate crisis, the global hunger crisis will only deteriorate further, pushing millions more to the brink,” – Save the Children.

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