Over 16.4 million or 67 percent of children in Kenya are living with the dual impacts of poverty and the climate change emergency, according to new research by Save the Children.
Moreover, 150 million children across East and Southern Africa are also facing the same tragedy of poverty and climate disaster.
Kenya ranks 10th highest in the globe and 3rd in East and Southern Africa in terms of the overall number of children facing this double threat.
Currently, at least 23 counties are facing acute drought where thousands of households are on the verge of starvation in the absence of food aid.
South Sudan topped the list of countries in the region most likely to face this double threat with 87 percent of children in the country affected, followed by Mozambique with 80 percent and Madagascar with 73 percent.
Further, the report indicates at least 21,242,162 children in Kenya are estimated to be affected by at least one extreme climate event a year, some of them are at particular risk because they are living in poverty and so have fewer resources to protect themselves and recover.
Globally, 774 million children fall into this high-risk group. Higher-income countries are not immune from this double threat. The report found that 121 million children facing both climate disaster and poverty live in higher income countries. More than four out of ten children affected (12.3 million) live in the US or the UK.
The report – Generation Hope: 2.4 billion reasons to end the global climate and inequality crisis warns if the climate and inequality crisis is not addressed with urgency, the frequency and severity of humanitarian and cost of living crises are set to soar. The study was conducted by researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2021.
“Climate change has affected us so much. We are experiencing a prolonged drought and people are struggling to get maize because of high food prices,” Kassim, 14, from Garissa county said.
The report shows these multiple and overlapping risks are linked to and exacerbate the current global food, nutrition and cost of living crisis that is causing 345 million people in 82 countries to face a severe lack of food.
This new report echoes a report published by Save the Children in 2021, which found that Kenyan children born in 2020 will on average face 4.6 times more droughts during their lives than their grandparents.