The Philippines is considered to be among the countries in the East Asia and Pacific region which children suffer most from multiple and often overlapping climate and environmental hazards and shocks, a latest report by the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) showed.
Based on UNICEF regional’s “Over the Tipping Point” data, 99.9% of Filipino children are at risk of one to two or more types of climate shock, hazard, or stress; 96.8% of the children face three or more; 77% face four or more; while 38.3% face five or more.
These climate hazards refer to coastal flooding, water scarcity, heatwaves, air pollution, riverine flooding and tropical cyclones, and vector-borne diseases, among others.
UNICEF revealed that children born in the East Asia and Pacific region today are experiencing a six-fold increase in climate-related disasters compared to their grandparents.
“Over the last 50 years, the region has witnessed 11 times increase in floods; 4 times increase in storms; 2.4 times increase in droughts and 5 times increase in landslides,” the organization said.
In the Philippines alone, at least 37 million children are highly exposed to cyclones; 24 million to pesticides; 20 million to lead pollution; 18 million to coastal flooding; 17 million to air pollution; 13 million to water scarcity; 6 million to heatwaves; and 5 million to riverine flooding.
Meanwhile, in the East Asia and Pacific region, in general, UNICEF said over 460 million children are highly exposed to air pollution; 210 million to cyclones; 140 million to water scarcity; and 120 million to coastal flooding.
“The situation for children in the East Asia and Pacific region is alarming. The climate crisis is risking their lives, causing them to miss out on their childhood and their right to survive and thrive,” UNICEF East Asia and Pacific director Debora Comini said.
UNICEF thus called for urgent action from governments, businesses, and donors to invest in building climate-smart social services like education, healthcare, water supply and sanitation, early warning systems, and climate-responsive social protection such as cash transfers, to help children grow up in a safe and healthy environment.
Other countries from the East Asia and Pacific region whose children face multiple and overlapping climate hazards include Mongolia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Thailand, and Vietnam, among others.—Giselle Ombay/AOL, GMA Integrated News