UNICEF calls for support to protect Zimbabwean children from climate shocks

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By Darlington Gatsi

THE United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged government and development partners to provide support and safeguard children from the negative impacts of climate change.

Children and women bear the brunt in the face of climate change, which has led to drought threatening livelihoods.

Zimbabwe is enduring the effects of climate change, which have led to drought leaving marginalised communities facing hunger.

UNICEF chief communications officer for Zimbabwe, Yves Willwemont, said measures should be taken to protect children from climate related disasters.

“Zimbabwe experiences the effects of climate change through cyclical droughts, floods, and extreme weather events, including those caused by phenomena like El Niño and La Niña.

“Climate change-induced events are becoming more frequent and intense, leading to severe impacts on children and their communities.

“UNICEF is calling for an urgent increase of child-centered climate investments to reduce the risk of shocks caused by climate change on children.

“We also calling for more funding of climate resilient programmes to ensure continued access to health, education, water and sanitation services, nutrition and child protection services, and for programmes to strengthen the resilience of households to deal with the climate-related emergencies,” said Willwemont.

An estimated seven million people in the country will be food insecure this year highlighting the severity of the impact of the El Nino induced drought.

Fears abound that children’s education and health in marginalised communities will be at risk as a result.

“The current El Niño crisis affecting large parts of Zimbabwe reminds us how climate-related emergencies are impacting the lives of children.

“The challenges created by El Niño in Zimbabwe come at a time when the country is also faced with public health emergencies related to cholera and polio, putting Zimbabwe into a complex, multi-dimensional humanitarian crisis,” said Willwemont.

UNICEF has since launched an online campaign calling for child-oriented investments.

“As part of its climate campaign, UNICEF is inviting all stakeholders in Zimbabwe to support the call for child-centered climate investments. People can sign the petition online through UNICEF Zimbabwe’s climate campaign site.”