Heatwave Threat Puts Half of Europe and Central Asia's Children at Risk, Urgent Action Needed

Amalendu Upadhyaya
Posted By -

Europe news: Half of Europe and Central Asia’s Children at Risk from Heatwaves

New Delhi, 27th July 2023: A new policy brief from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reveals that a staggering 92 million children, approximately half of all children in Europe and Central Asia, are currently exposed to high heatwave frequency, double the global average. This alarming situation is a direct consequence of the escalating climate crisis, and UNICEF warns that by 2050, all children in the region will face this threat.

Heatwave threat impacts half of all children in Europe and Central Asia

Half of all children in Europe and Central Asia, 92 million, are exposed to high heatwave frequency, or double the global average, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday in a new policy brief.

Regina De Dominicis, UNICEF Regional Director Europe and Central Asia, said countries in these parts of the world are feeling the heat of the climate crisis, and children’s health and well-being are suffering the most.

“This is expected to rise to all children in 2050,” she added.  “The multitude of negative implications on the current and future health of such a significant proportion of the region’s children must be a catalyst for governments to invest in mitigation and adaptation measures urgently.”

Children on target of heatwaves

According to the report, children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of heatwaves as their core temperatures rise significantly higher and faster than adults, putting them at risk of serious illness including heatstroke.

Furthermore, heatwaves also affect children’s education by hampering their ability to concentrate and learn.

While children are uniquely vulnerable to the impact of heatwaves, UNICEF noted that most adults experience heat differently, making it hard for parents and caretakers to identify dangerous situations or symptoms of heat-related illness in children.

In recent years, heatwaves in Europe and Central Asia have become more frequent with no signs of abating, and the frequency is set to increase even further over the coming years.

Under the most conservative estimates of a global temperature increase at 1.7 degrees Celsius, the report warned that a concerning future awaits children in Europe and Central Asia. By the year 2050, every child in the region is predicted to experience high heatwave frequency.

Disturbingly, approximately 81 per cent of these children will be subjected to prolonged periods of intense heatwaves, while 28 per cent will encounter even more severe heatwave conditions.

What are UNICEF’s recommendations for protecting children from heat waves?

To protect children, UNICEF outlines six recommendations for Governments across Europe and Central Asia.

They include incorporating heatwave mitigation and adaptation into climate-related commitments and disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management policies, keeping children at the centre of all plans.

Governments should also invest in primary health care to support prevention, early action, diagnosis, and treatment of heat-related illness among children, including training community health workers and teachers.

They can further invest in national climate early warning systems, carry out local environmental assessments, and support emergency preparedness and resilience-building initiatives.

How to protect children during heat waves

Post a Comment


Post a Comment (0)