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Children in Vietnam exposed to at least 3 climate emergencies: UNICEF report

Children in Vietnam exposed to at least 3 climate emergencies: UNICEF report

Thursday, May 25, 2023, 09:30 GMT+7
Children in Vietnam exposed to at least 3 climate emergencies: UNICEF report
Vietnamese children use a raft to wade through a flooded street to receive flood relief items. Photo: Vietnam News Agency

An astounding 99.5 percent of children in Vietnam, equal to 26.2 million, face three or more types of climate-related emergencies during childhood," according a UNICEF regional report titled ‘Over the Tipping Point.'

Comparatively, the number sits at 89 percent in the region and 73 percent globally, the report said.

Besides, 94.6 percent of children in this Southeast Asian nation encounter at least four types of climate emergencies, much higher than the regional figure of 65 percent and the global figure of 37 percent.

The report also indicated that children born in the East Asia and Pacific region, including Vietnam, are experiencing a sixfold increase in climate related disasters compared to their grandparents.

Over the last 50 years, the region has witnessed an 11-fold increase in floods, a fourfold rise in storms, a 2.4-fold hike in droughts, and a fivefold increase in landslides.

With temperatures and sea levels rising and extreme weather phenomena such as typhoons, severe flooding, landslides, and droughts increasing, millions of children are at risk.

Many children and their families face displacement and struggle to survive, with limited or no access to healthcare, education, and water and sanitation services.

When these overlapping shocks are compounded by other types of crises such as food insecurity, malnutrition, and the spread of infectious diseases, it becomes especially hard for the most vulnerable children – those from poor and marginalized communities and those with disabilities – to cope and recover.

Ultimately, these effects exacerbate inequalities that children already face, pushing the poorest further into poverty.

UNICEF is calling for urgent action from governments, businesses, and donors to invest in building climate-smart social services, including education, healthcare, and water supply and sanitation, early warning systems, and climate-responsive social protection.

In Vietnam, UNICEF is working with the Vietnamese government to assess the climate landscape for children and identify capacity gaps in the disaster management system, employing a child-centric approach.

UNICEF has conducted surveys on the possibility of installing solar rooftops on schools, health centers, and water supply facilities. It has also tested the Children Climate Risk Index methodology.

Most of these initiatives are now ready to be scaled up and the comprehensive assessments undertaken by UNICEF provide a solid foundation for evidence-based policy change and investment for children while ensuring that climate-related programs and plans are informed by accurate data and tailored to the specific needs of children and communities in Vietnam.

In addition, UNICEF plans to implement net-zero climate-resilient social services and infrastructure across various parts of Vietnam in order to establish net-zero climate-resilient communities capable of effectively reducing their reliance on traditional fossil fuel-based energy and adapting to the challenges posed by climate change.

“The success of all these models will benefit children and their communities while facilitating the scaling up and the replication of best practices nationwide,” said Rana Flowers, UNICEF representative in Vietnam.

“UNICEF is promoting early warning and early action -- getting information to the community level -- enabling everyone to prepare for and secure an adequate response to climate-related challenges.

"For example, toward the end of this year/early next year, Vietnam will face 'El Nino' conditions -- most likely resulting in drought.

"Alerting families, encouraging them to collect rainwater, offering them alternatives to clean water sources will be essential.

"In preparing and supporting in a timely fashion, UNICEF supports early action, which ensures the most vulnerable are not paying up to 10 times the normal cost of clean water and allows families to cook and have access to clean drinking water."

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Hong Ngan / Tuoi Tre News

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