Climate change: The effects on children

Climate change is affecting people’s ability to feed themselves. And when that happens, it is children who suffer the most.

Because they are still growing, children are at greatest risk of injury, disability and death caused by the impacts of climate change. They are less equipped physically, mentally and emotionally to cope with life-threatening conditions. The greatest killers of children – malnutrition, diarrhoeal disease and malaria – will get worse because of climate change. Children living in developing countries face the greatest risks of all, not because climate change effects will be any worse there than in other countries, but because poverty limits their ability to respond.

The world's poorest children struggle to survive every day. Because they don’t eat enough nutritious food, children get sick and they can’t go to school. When they don’t get an education, their chances of escaping poverty are greatly reduced. These children's own children will likely be born into poverty. This is how the cycle continues.

Across the world, many children are constantly hungry because their families can’t provide them with the food they need. There’s an urgent need to help their environment and improve their lives.

In Kenya, children like Imuse cry from the pains of hunger. His mother says, "I cry too. I cry for my children when they plead for food I don't have."

In Ethiopia, Bilku worries about her baby Nesredin who is very weak. Almost all of Bilku's crops died because of an extended drought. Even her animals are struggling to survive.

Climate change is changing Bilku's and Imuse's homes for the worse. Extreme weather and natural disasters continue the cycle of food shortages, bringing along with them political instability, sickness and violent conflict.

Imuse's and Bilku's stories are sadly not unique. To break the cycle of poverty and instability, World Vision is working with communities around the globe on lasting solutions.

LEFT: When children like Eliza don’t get enough food to eat, it affects their growth and development in many ways; RIGHT: Almost all of Bilku’s crops died because of drought and now she doesn’t know how she will feed her baby, Nesredin.