At least 1.85 million children in sub-Saharan Africa had been left displaced within their countries by climate-induced disasters at the end of 2022, a figure that has almost doubled in the past year, a global charity said Monday.
Some of these children were displaced multiple times, while others only once, but all remained displaced from home at the end of the year, living in camps, with extended family, or other temporary arrangements, said Save the Children, a charity organization founded in London, citing data from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center.
“When children lose their homes, they lose almost everything: their access to healthcare, education, food and safety,” said Kijala Shako, head of Advocacy, Communications, Campaigns and Media for Save the Children’s East and Southern Africa Regional Office, in a statement issued in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
Shako said she hopes that leaders participating in the ongoing Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi would acknowledge that the climate crisis is having a disastrous impact on children’s lives and response to children’s needs and rights.
The charity said five failed rainy seasons in Somalia forced about 6.6 million people — or 39 percent of the population — into critical levels of hunger.
The number of new internal displacements throughout the year across sub-Saharan Africa in 2022 due to such disasters was also three times higher than the previous year, with 7.4 million new internal displacements during 2022 compared to 2.6 million in 2021, it said.
Save the Children said climate change is having a growing impact on the African continent, which has the smallest share of global greenhouse gas emissions of all the world’s regions.
With the El Nino weather pattern taking hold, causing even more extreme weather events and pushing up global temperatures further, this figure would increase further this year, the organization said.