by Aimee Stanton
Reports released by a leading children’s charity has stated that 2010 will see over 250,000 East African children die as a result of climate change.
Save the Children charity organisation is preparing for the worst with thousands of deaths in East Africa expected in the next year. It is reported that children under the age of five will be at the highest risk of fatalities.
The change in climate will make East African communities more vulnerable from malnutrition, water scarcity, natural disasters, and the collapse of public services and infrastructure. Droughts are likely to be a common occurrence, creating more difficulties in producing and distributing food, all resulting in food shortages. These unimaginable scenarios could be far too familiar by the end of 2010 for East Africa. The bitter truth is that change is now unavoidable and the continent will face one of its hardest years to date.
Climate change is now appearing to be a risk far sooner than anticipated. Warnings are issued on a daily basis about running up carbon emissions by wasting electricity, not recycling and driving cars too often. On all of these issues the UK is improving, yet the continent who will face the highest price in 2010 contributes less than 3.6% a year to carbon emissions, even though it holds 14% of the world’s population.
Beverley Kirk, Media Officer for Save the Children explains, “It was a complete shock for us to find the number of deaths estimated so high. We really did not expect climate change to be as serious by 2010, it has now become an immediate threat. From having been out there we can see truth behind these figures”.
“Our team have visited East Africa and researched the situation on climate change. We gathered our results through a variety of people such as scientists, climate researchers and have looked at the current death toll from earlier years to estimate the impact climate change will have upon the future”.
Save the Children’s latest report, Feeling the Heat, states how even by 2030 the expected number of child casualties as a result of climate change could peak at 400,000. This illustrates how it may be too little, too late for climate change. Feeling the Heat also gives details on how more than 900 million children will be affected by water shortages in the next generation, with more than 160 million being at a greater risk of catching malaria. For communities to survive, it will all be dependable on how they can adapt and handle the changes in climate.
Ms Kirk is hopeful for the future though, “We are going to have a team sent to Copenhagen next month for the UN Climate Change conference where we will be lobbying for change. They are looking at tax rises for fuel in the West and are aiming to talk to some key world leaders. We are really hoping for some dramatic changes and recognition to the cause”.