UNICEF recently said that devastating floods, cyclones and other environmental disasters that are linked to climate change are majorly threatening the lives and future of more than 19 million children in Bangladesh.
In the report, UNICEF said that Bangladeshis have developed admirable powers of resilience. More resources and innovative programmes are urgently needed to avert the danger that climate change poses to the country's youngest citizens.
The report 'A Gathering Storm' mentions that the Climate Change clouds the future of children in Bangladesh. Basically, it points out that Bangladesh's flat topography, weak infrastructure and dense population makes it vulnerable to the powerful and unpredictable forces of climate change. The threat is from the flood and drought-prone lowlands in the country's north to its storm-ravaged coastline along the Bay of Bengal.
Sea level rise and salt water intrusion is forcing families deeper into poverty and displacement. Also, in this process, children's access to education and health services is severely disrupted.
The most recent major flooding of the Brahmaputra River in 2017 inundated at least 480 community health clinics and damaged some 50,000 tube wells, essential for meeting communities’ safe water needs.
Another 4.5 million children live in coastal areas regularly struck by powerful cyclones, including almost half a million Rohingya refugee children living in fragile bamboo and plastic shelters.
A further 3 million children live inland, where farming communities suffer increasing periods of drought.
The report says that climate change is a key factor pushing poorer Bangladeshis to abandon their homes and communities and to try and rebuild lives elsewhere. Many head to Dhaka and other major cities, where children risk being pushed into dangerous forms of labour and into early marriages. It cites research showing that Bangladesh has 6 million climate migrants already, a number that could more than double by 2050.
"When families migrate from their homes in the countryside because of climate change, children effectively lose their childhoods," says UNICEF Bangladesh Representative Edouard Beigbeder. "They face danger and deprivation in the cities, as well as pressure to go out to work despite the risk of exploitation and abuse."
Image Credit: IB Times UK
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