Climate Change displaced 187k children in 2022, Report shows

Children look for water using donkey carts in Afuene, Baraki ward, Lagdera subcounty, Garissa.

Children look for water using donkey carts in Afuene, Baraki ward, Lagdera subcounty, Garissa.
Image: FILE

At least 187,000 children in Kenya were displaced by climate shocks at the end of 2022, the latest report by Save the Children shows.

This is a sevenfold increase from 2021 when 27,000 children were displaced by similar crises based on data from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

Save the Children analysed data from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council.

The report warns that the number could be much higher, as the figures are only from four counties Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit and Turkana.

According to Save the Children, some of these children were displaced multiple times, while others only once.

Those displaced remained away from their homes at the end of the year and lived in camps, with extended family, or other temporary arrangements

This comes as policymakers meet this week in Nairobi to discuss solutions to the climate crisis at the Africa Climate Summit.

“The impact of climate shocks on children is very worrying. When children lose their homes they lose almost everything: their access to healthcare, education, food, and safety,” Yvonne Arunga said.

“They also lose the building blocks for mental and emotional stability and wellbeing, like a sense of routine, their friends, and the right to play,” she added.

Arunga is the Save the Children’s Country Director for Kenya and Madagascar.

Regionally, the number of new internal displacements in 2022 due to disasters throughout the year across sub-Saharan Africa was three times higher than the previous year.

This means the number of new displacements rose to 7.4 million in 2022 compared to 2.6 million in 2021.

According to the agency, the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) by disasters across sub-Saharan Africa rose by 1.7 million from two million in 2021 to 3.7 million in 2022.

This is the highest annual number of new displacements from climate disasters ever reported for the region as the impacts of consecutive climate shocks.

“These figures are enough to bring anyone to a standstill and hopefully will spur leaders at Africa Climate Week to wake up to the experiences of children across the region,” Arunga said.

She said it is time to acknowledge the climate crisis is having a disastrous impact on the lives of children and hence act urgently to factor in children’s needs and rights into the much-needed response.