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El Niño threatens children

Photo credit: UN News Centre

Millions of children’s lives at stake as El Niño strengthens, UNICEF ‘wake-up call’ report warns

As a result of a strengthening El Niño, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is warning that an estimated 11 million children are at risk from hunger, disease and lack of water in eastern and southern Africa alone, as the weather phenomenon has left droughts and floods in its wake throughout parts of Asia, the Pacific and Latin America.

“Children and their communities need our help to recover from the impact of El Niño and to prepare for the further damage it could unleash,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake a press release .

Besides the immediate risks of death and injury, El Niño can lead to significant increases in diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever, diarrhoea and cholera – major killers of children. When extreme weather deprives communities of their livelihoods, young children often suffer from undernutrition that puts them at greater risk for illness, delayed mental development and premature death.

Read the full article: UN News Centre

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.