UN: The lives and futures of more than 19 million Bangladeshi children are at risk from the colossal impact of devastating floods, cyclones and other environmental disasters linked to climate change, according to a report by the United Nations children’s agency released Friday.
The UNICEF report said the estimate includes hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugee children from Myanmar who are living in squalid camps in Bangladesh’s coastal district of Cox’s Bazar.
The report says that because of the impact of climate, families across Bangladesh, a low-lying delta nation crisscrossed by more than 130 rivers, have migrated to big cities from villages after losing their livelihoods to increasing salinity in arable land, flooding, or river bank erosion.
It documents children being forced into sex trafficking or marriage to survive.
Around 12 million of the most affected children live in and around the powerful river systems which regularly burst their banks, UNICEF’s Dhaka spokesman, Jean-Jacques Simon, told the AP.
“In the big cities… thousands of children arrive every day with their parents … who are quite vulnerable to all kinds of exploitations,” Simon said.
Another 4.5 million children live in vast coastal areas regularly struck by powerful cyclones, including almost half a million Rohingya refugee children living in fragile bamboo and plastic shelters, according to the report.
Bangladesh’s 6 million climate refugees could more than double by 2050, according to the report.