Nigerian children are second most affected by climate change globally – UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has ranked Nigeria as second highest-risk country where children are susceptible to the impact of climate change.

In UNICEF’s “Children’s Climate Risk Index” ranking of 163 countries released on Friday, August 20, the UN agency ranked Central Africa Republic (CAR) the highest risk country, while Nigeria and Republic of Chad followed as second on the list.

The report said Nigeria’s low rating was due to children’s high exposure to air pollution and coastal floods.

The report added that investment in social services, particularly child health, nutrition and education could help to reverse the trend, safeguard children’s future and provide better protection against climate change.

It added that “the 33 extremely high-risk countries – including Nigeria – collectively emit just 9 per cent of global CO2 emissions. 

“Only one of these countries is ranked as `extremely high-risk’ in the index. Young people living in Nigeria are among those most at risk of the impacts of climate change, threatening their health, education and protection.

“Approximately one billion children, nearly half of the world’s 2.2 billion children, live in one of the 33 countries classified as ‘extremely high-risk’.

“These findings reflect the number of children impacted today, with figures likely to get worse as the impact of climate change accelerates.”

The UNICEF report ranked countries based on children’s exposure to climate and environmental shocks such as cyclones and heatwaves, as well as their vulnerability to those shocks, based on their access to essential services.

The index reveals that globally, 240 million children are highly exposed to coastal flooding, while 330 million are highly exposed to coastal flooding.

It further revealed that “400 million children are highly exposed to cyclones and 600 million are highly exposed to vector borne diseases.

“Also, 815 million children are highly exposed to lead pollution and 820 million children are highly exposed to heat waves.

“920 million children are highly exposed to water scarcity and one billion children are highly exposed to exceedingly high levels of air pollution.” read the report

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