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Climate and Environment

Climate disasters affect kids from 5.6 million poor Filipino families — group

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Climate disasters affect kids from 5.6 million poor Filipino families � group
In this photo taken on December 29, 2021, young residents carrying their surf boards, walk past houses destroyed by super Typhoon Rai, as they head for the beach in General Luna town, Siargao island, more than a week after the super typhoon devastated the island.
AFP/Roel Catoto

MANILA, Philippines — Children from 5.6 million low-income families in the Philippines are exposed to the worsening impacts of climate change—a problem they will inherit even though they are least responsible for it.

This was according to advocacy group Save the Children Philippines, which stressed that climate change will make the existing challenges that children face much worse.

“Millions of Filipino children remain poor due to inequality and discrimination, and their situation is exacerbated by the climate crisis. Many of them lack access to basic services on health, education, proper nutrition or adequate housing,” Save the Children Philippines CEO Albert Muyot said.

Families living in poverty and in rural areas have increasingly shouldered the brunt of climate disasters. Poor households also have less support and resources to adapt to climate-related changes.

According to a 2021 report published by the Save the Children Philippines, Filipino children born in 2020 will experience 4.9 times more scorching heat waves, 2.3 times more river floods, 1.2 more droughts, and 1.5 times more crop failures than their grandparents or people born 60 years ago.

“During climate emergencies, many affected families find it hard to send their children to school or even access healthcare. Children suffer the most because they look for work to help augment their daily needs,” Save the Children Philippines said.

It added that climate change exacerbates violence against women, putting Filipino girls “at greater risk” of being abused, neglected, exploited or subjected to child marriages.

Climate change at the center

The advocacy group called for child-centered climate change mitigation and adaptation plans.

“Without urgent and concrete actions to mitigate the negative impact of climate change and support for the most vulnerable families, we are at a setback in fulfilling children’s right to survive, learn, be protected, and thrive,” said Rexel Abrigo, environmental health advisor of Save the Children Philippines.

Climate scientists backed by the United Nations earlier called on countries to strengthen measures that will help people cope in a warming world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also warned that “rapid and far-reaching transitions” across all sectors and systems are needed to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.

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