As our planet continues to overheat dangerously, extreme weather events are on the rise — and their impact has forced children to flee their homes an estimated 43.1 million times over five years.
Countries like South Sudan and Somalia saw the highest rates of child displacement, with 11.8% and 10.7% of the youth populations from these nations, respectively, leaving their homes due to floods and storms.
“As wildfires grow more intense, frequent, and widespread, many children who live through them are experiencing lasting psychological trauma such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder,” the report says, as reported by Common Dreams. “Children may also develop sleep or attention problems or struggle in school. If not managed, their emotional trauma can affect their physical health, potentially leading to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance use.”
“It is terrifying for any child when a ferocious wildfire, storm, or flood barrels into their community,” said Catherine Russell, executive director at UNICEF. “For those who are forced to flee, the fear and impact can be especially devastating, with worry of whether they will return home, resume school, or be forced to move again. Moving may have saved their lives, but it’s also very disruptive.”
Overall, the Philippines, India, and China saw the most displacements between 2016 and 2021, while Dominica, Saint Martin, and other island nations saw the highest rates of displacement (relative to populations) during the period.
Reddit users responded to the news with intensity and cynicism.
“Hey I wonder if this is maybe why no one’s having kids anymore?” one user wrote.
“The tip of the iceberg … has melted,” another user said.
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