African infants were classified as being at ‘high’ or ‘extremely high’ risk of suffering from the consequences of global warming, warned the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) report.
The analysis by the specialized UN agency assessed countries based on children’s exposure to climate and environmental crises such as cyclones and heat waves.
Using the global Child Climate Risk Index (CCRI), the research highlighted the unique exposure and vulnerability faced by Africa’s children.
Unicef found that children in the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Guinea, Somalia and Guinea-Bissau were most at risk.
Those in Nigeria were placed in the ‘extremely high risk’ category in last year’s assessment, ranking second out of 163 countries.
Experts point out that children are more vulnerable than adults to the adverse effects of climate, as they are physically less equipped to cope with extreme conditions such as floods, droughts, storms and heat waves, as well as pollution-induced toxins.
Data also show that large numbers of children are contracting diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and other illnesses that climate change may worsen.