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Climate change main cause of child mortality
Published on 5 Oct. 2009 10:26 PM IST
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Climate change, besides other factors like poverty, is one of the main causes of high child mortality in the world today, a study by an international charity Save the Children said Monday. Respondents in India and China, two of the 14 countries that the survey was carried out in, acknowledged the fact. More than 400,000 children die within 24 hours of their birth in India alone every year - the highest anywhere in the world, the study, released globally Monday, said. Globally nine million children die every year before the age of five -- that is one child every three seconds. Citing a number of explanations backing up their finding, the report said that climate change already affects 250 million people - half of them being children - in a year. “In the next 20 years, it is estimated that climate change and other factors will increase the number of people affected by disasters by more than 300 percent. Already climate change is affecting children’s health and access to food and water,” the report said. Change in climatic conditions, which cause floods and increasing temperatures, further cause child killer diseases like malaria and diarrhoea. “Malaria already kills 800,000 children under five each year. Rising temperatures will increase the geographical range and seasonality of the disease. In some areas where temperatures were previously low enough to keep malaria at bay - like the Kenyan highlands - the average temperature has increased so as to increase the risk of transmission,” the report said. “If global temperatures increase by two degrees, an additional two-three million people will experience water stress, thus contributing to water borne diseases,” it added. While poverty was cited as the main threat to children’s lives in 14 countries that the survey was carried out in, including Australia, Canada, Britain and the US, only China cited climate change as the main reason while India also identified it as a major challenge. The study is part of Save the Children’s ‘Everyone’ campaign to reduce child mortality.

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