Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Child climate refugees in Africa

Climate change’s brutal toll on Africa, newsroom, 9 Jul 17 United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund The vast majority of child migrants uprooted by violence, poverty and climate change remain in Africa, write UNICEF’s Lachlan Forsyth and Patrick Rose

The vast majority of child migrants uprooted by violence, poverty and climate change remain in Africa, according to a new report by child rights organisation UNICEF.

It is a bitter irony that the countries that have done the least to cause climate change are going to suffer the most. Countries that have minuscule carbon footprints are going to be the first to suffer the consequences of flooding, drought and displacement.

In West and Central Africa, the impact of climate change will be especially severe, with the region set to experience a 3 to 4 degree rise in temperature this century – more than one and a half times higher than anywhere else on the planet.

For the millions of people living in this vast region, longer droughts and intense storms will make farming and herding more difficult, and people will be forced to seek a better life.

Already, children account for more than half of the 12 million West and Central African people on the move each year. Contrary to many opinions, 75 percent of them remain in sub-Saharan Africa, with fewer than one in five heading to Europe.

This current wave of migrants is just the start of a swelling humanitarian crisis. Migration involving children and young people is likely to increase due to rapid population growth and urbanisation, climate change, inequitable economic development, and persistent conflict.

Poverty is a powerful driver of migration in West and Central Africa. Countries with high levels of poverty are more likely to be a source of migration as people look to improve their lot in life. In interviews conducted by UNICEF, migrants describe the feeling of ‘having nothing to lose,’ aware that by migrating they are taking a risk, but it is a gamble that might pay off.

Helene is one of them. She is 14 years old, holding a sign saying “I am a child, and not a commodity.”……..

With drought and temperatures intensifying in West and Central Africa, tensions in accessing scarce resources for cattle are also increasing hostilities in many rural areas, pushing greater numbers of people towards cities. But with more than 100 million people living in coastal cities less than one metre above sea level, even conservative estimates of a sea-level rise could result in the forced displacement of millions of climate refugees as people seek safety for their families and children.

For organisations like UNICEF, the challenges are enormous and complex. Aid money can only fix so much, when monumental societal changes are required also. Until the root causes of poverty are addressed, and solutions provided in the form of economic opportunities, access to health care and access to quality education, people are likely to continue to take dangerous risks migrating for better opportunities.

Unless the long-term planning of governments and civil society is equipped to anticipate these climate shocks and subsequent migration, the unmitigated impact of these forces will create detrimental outcomes for children across the region.

To read the full UNICEF report, click  here  https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/07/09/37772/climate-changes-brutal-toll-on-africa

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July 9, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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