CLIMATE CHANGE: CHILDREN AT RISK
As a result of climate change, the monsoons in tropical regions have become unprecedentedly heavy in recent years. In addition, other factors such as increasing urbanisation and weak societal capacities contribute to rapidly increasing numbers of people affected by floods every year. Significantly, an estimated 9.6 million people are affected every year in South Asia. This number looks to increase to over 15 million by 2030.
While other types of catastrophes are less predictable, the seasonal monsoons in parts of Asia promise to threaten communities with increasing frequency. In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippines, destroying the homes and lives of about 14 million people, more than a third of whom were children. In 2016, serious floods affected parts of India and Southern China. In 2017, communities in Nepal and Bangladesh fell victim to flooding and landslides.
Asia is increasingly vulnerable
Floods & Typhoons
In the coming years, a projected 200 million people will be endangered by increased flooding.
This is triple of current numbers.
Children are the most vulnerable to disasters. They are also the ones to step up as the next generation of parents in an era of climate-related disasters. How can we equip them to protect themselves better to mitigate risk and reduce unnecessary loss of lives?
Protecting children at risk of super-typhoons, drought and floods
The Philippines ranks as the 3rd most disaster-prone country in the world. In the past 30 years, there has been an average of 19 to 20 tropical cyclones on annual basis, causing more than 30,000 fatalities.
Families in the Visayas region of the Philippines are now exposed to even greater risk, with storms escalating to typhoons, and rainfall threatening to flood hilly areas and cause landslides.
In Loon, Philippines, World Vision prepares communities before the next disaster strikes by:
1. Equip community members and children on disaster risk reduction
2. Stock up first aid supplies for families
3. Train farmers on climate-resistant cropping techniques and support seed banking
4. Conduct hazard mapping in Loon
5. Train children in
i. disaster preparedness,
ii. child-friendly basic life support training,
iii. first aid training
iv. environmental protection initiatives
Parts of East Africa and the Horn of Africa have been most threatened by El Nino and climate change. Desertification, flooding, and prolonged dry spells leave countless of impoverished people even more vulnerable.
In Kenya, people have had to withstand consecutive droughts and floods over the last few years. With El Nino, bad droughts are often followed almost immediately by flash flooding. Families then struggle with no harvests, no food, and the risks of having their water contaminated, and homes washed away.
In Turkana, Kenya, World Vision is bracing families against the next El Nino wave by:
1. Restoring water systems and securing water supplies
2. Supporting families before the next disaster with:
i. garden kits,
ii. seeds and seedlings for quicker harvests
3. Training mothers and caregivers on avoiding child malnutrition even with lower food supplies
suddenly, violently and without warning
at any time of the year and
at any time of the day or night.
Asia frequently struck
After the Nepal earthquake in 2015, World Vision rushed aid to affected families and communities in the immediate aftermath. More than 9,000 individuals lost their lives to the first quake, and hundreds of thousands were displaced and homeless. Children lost their homes, schools and most importantly, a sense of security and safety.
Similarly, in the aftermath of the 2014 earthquake in Sichuan, China and 2013 in the Visayas region of the Philippines, World Vision worked closely with affected children in areas of immediate relief, child protection and long-term restoration. Through Child-Friendly spaces where psychosocial support is provided, rehabilitation of damaged water sources, shelter kits and training to rebuild homes, children are reassured and families are supported to get back on their feet.
Since 2000, there has been at least one major earthquake every year in the Asia and Pacific region. Studies have also estimated that some 10,000 people die in earthquakes annually across the globe.
Earthquakes are temporally unpredictable but predictably destructive when they do occur. In light of this, World Vision aims to strengthen our rescue, response and rehabilitation efforts among stricken communities as they journey out of injury and towards recovery.