More than 110 Million Nigerian Children Are at Risk from the Climate Crisis

UNICEF Warns Over 110 Million Nigerian Children Face Climate Crisis Risks

UNICEF designates Nigeria as the second most vulnerable country for children facing the impacts of climate change, affecting over 110 million
An inter-school quiz competition during World Children’s Day in Gombe State addresses children’s concerns amid Nigeria’s climate crisis
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has identified Nigeria as the second most vulnerable country globally concerning children’s exposure to climate change.

With over 110 million children grappling with the harsh realities of escalating temperatures, the situation poses a severe threat to their well-being.

Climate change is no longer a distant, abstract concept; it is a reality that is dramatically affecting the lives of millions. In Nigeria, the impact on children is particularly severe. UNICEF’s recent warning underscores the urgent need for attention, resources, and strategic interventions to mitigate the risks these children face.

The rising temperatures in Nigeria pose direct health risks to children. Heat-related illnesses, waterborne diseases, and malnutrition are on the rise, driven by changes in weather patterns. The vulnerability of children to these health challenges is exacerbated by factors such as inadequate healthcare infrastructure and limited access to clean water.

Climate change is not only a health crisis but also an educational one. Extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts, disrupt schooling and can lead to the closure of educational facilities. The ensuing displacement and destruction of school infrastructure further hinder children’s access to quality education, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and limiting future opportunities.

The changing climate adversely affects agriculture, a sector crucial to Nigeria’s economy. Unpredictable rainfall patterns and prolonged droughts contribute to crop failure, leading to food shortages. Children, already vulnerable to malnutrition, face an increased risk as the availability and affordability of nutritious food decline.

Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, disclosed this information at the conclusion of an inter-school quiz competition in Gombe State, part of the activities marking the 2023 World Children’s Day. The day, established in 1954, serves to promote international togetherness, raise awareness among children worldwide, and enhance their welfare.

Nigerian children not only face rising temperatures but are also confronted with the challenges of flooding, drought, and severe storms. Munduate highlighted that child displacement due to environmental disasters, particularly floods, reached 650,000 between 2016 and 2021.

The 2023 World Children’s Day celebration in Nigeria became a pivotal platform for children to express their concerns and experiences, focusing on child rights amid the growing climate crisis. Events across the country, including Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Enugu, Sokoto, and Maiduguri, witnessed children leading discussions on the significant impacts of climate change on their lives and future.

Discussions delved into critical issues, such as the direct health impact of climate change on children, including increased physical dangers, waterborne diseases, and malnutrition. The event also shed light on the alarming rate of child displacement due to environmental disasters.

Munduate stressed that the children’s input in this year’s celebration is crucial in shaping stakeholders’ collective path toward a sustainable and resilient future. Mr. Clement Adams, Officer in Charge, UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, emphasized the need to celebrate children and create a better environment for them to thrive.

In the quiz competition, Government Girls Secondary School, Doma, secured the first position with 21 points, followed by Government Day Secondary School, Gandu, in the second position with 20 points. Government Day Science Secondary School, Gombe, claimed the third position with 18 points.

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