CLIMATE change taking place across the world will have a greater negative impact on children who are likely to experience increased health risks, according to a recent study carried out by the University of Zimbabwe (UZ)’s Institute of Environmental Studies.
A significant number of the children will suffer malnourishment due to climate change–spawned food insecurities, according to the study, which also revealed that the effects were already being felt in dry regions such as Masvingo, Gokwe and Tsholotsho.
Pro-Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the UZ Professor Chipo Dyanda recently said children were more susceptible to the effects of climate change.
She said there was need to advocate for strategies to lessen the effects.
“They [children] are often most vulnerable to adverse health effects from environmental hazards because they are not fully developed physically and psychologically,” said Dyanda during a recent climate change policy dialogue.
She said the study, one of the few on the impacts of climate change on children, was done on partnership with Unicef Zimbabwe and government.
The study established that children would suffer more than adults as they were more vulnerable.
The long–term consequences would continue to overshadow their lives as there would be an increase in droughts, floods and storms during their adulthood years.
Dyanda said it was important to involve young people in the consultative process so that their issues would be incorporated into climate change policies and strategies.
Direct health impacts from climate change include injury and death from more frequent extreme weather conditions, such as floods and hurricanes.
“In Zimbabwe, the annual mean surface temperature has warmed by about 0,400 Celsius from 1900 to 2000. The timing and amount of rainfall received are becoming increasingly uncertain. The floods that are currently ravaging Masvingo Province and other parts of the country are a stark reminder of this,” said the UZ academic.