Children among most vulnerable to extreme weather

UNICEF warns that the large number of extreme weather events around the world are putting children in immediate danger, as well as jeopardizing their futures.
Numerous studies have documented that the frequency and severity of heatwaves across the globe has increased. Children are especially at risk as they adjust more slowly than adults to changes in environmental heat and are more susceptible to heat-related health risks, with children under 12 months old particularly vulnerable. Infants and small children are more likely to die or suffer from heatstroke because they are unable to regulate their body temperature and control their surrounding environment. Extreme heat conditions also increase the need for safe and reliable drinking water, while in many cases rendering such water scarcer through evaporation.

Also, floods threaten children’s survival and development, with direct impacts including injuries and death by drowning. Beyond these immediate risks, floods compromise safe water supplies and damage sanitation facilities, increasing the risk of diarrhoea and other disease outbreaks, as well as impacting children’s access to education. Damage to housing endangers children’s well-being, particularly if emergency shelter is either scarce or inadequate. It also destroys infrastructure, making it difficult to move lifesaving assistance where needed.


Read more about UNICEF’s climate agenda for children here.