Children are the most vulnerable group and most affected by climate change, haunted by dangers in their mothers' stomachs, through their early childhood, and accompanied by them in later stages of their lives.

Studies indicate a series of harmful health and psychological effects facing today's children, nearly 3 times the climatic disasters faced by their grandparents, and through forest fires, storms, floods, droughts, high temperatures and low air quality, many problems are exacerbated, mainly chest diseases, growth problems and changing their genetic makeup, according to a report published by the journal "Science".

Exposure to heat during extreme waves, leads to higher child mortality rates (Pixaby)

A whole future is changing

Children are more affected because they develop physically and psychologically more than adults, making them more likely to receive pollutants coming through air, water and food, and thus more violently diseased.

Through his work between Egypt and a number of Gulf countries, Dr. Mahmoud Bashir, Consultant Pediatrician and member of the Royal College of Paediatrics in London, monitors how the frequency and quality of diseases have changed with the emergency climate changes, and says, "I noticed through my work an increase in cases received by me that suffer from chest and sinus allergies, but I was not satisfied with that, observation is the weakest link, which prompted me to follow the matter deeper, the issue has gone further, air quality has changed, temperatures have risen, so the problem is no longer It's only about chest diseases and allergies."

The climate repercussions threaten about one billion children around the world, according to a previous statement by the organization "Kids Wright", Dr. Bashir explained that "exposure to heat during severe waves, is behind the high rates of child mortality, sometimes due to the imbalance of salts of their bodies, and sometimes due to severe drought, but in cases of forest fires, children's stable, quiet, and clean life turns into a life full of smoke and suffocation, amid suffering from post-traumatic stress, and the same applies to cases of severe floods and violent hurricanes."

Based on previous studies that have pointed to the relationship between climate change, high rates of maternal and newborn mortality, as well as the difficulties faced by pregnant and lactating mothers in many countries, Dr. Bashir said, "Among the surprising things that surprised me is the relationship between high temperatures and premature birth, and the consequent many problems for the child and his family, suffering that is complemented by the disruption of food supply chains caused by climate change, and thus the high rates of malnutrition for children at young ages, as well as The spread of certain diseases such as malaria, hand, mouth and foot disease, whose rates have increased with the rise in temperatures."

Successive changes in the environment to which children are exposed affect them for life (Getty Images)

This is how their lives are affected forever

According to a research paper issued by Harvard University, genes are subject to change, as a response to toxic stress, successive changes in the surrounding environment, and other tragic experiences that everyone, especially children, is exposed to, affecting them for life, but is the change for the better or for the worse?

In fact, environmental pollutants that enter the body cause the DNA sequence to change directly, and may cause a chain reaction that affects the work of a certain gene, which later affects the work of another gene, and thus the environment affects one's health by affecting proteins that trigger or stop genes, which can later worsen to cause diseases such as:

  • Cancer.
  • Mental retardation.
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • Diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Obesity.
  • Infertility.

But the matter does not stop at the limits of gene change, but extends to the child's psychological and mental state, as climate change negatively affects the mental development of children, which affects school performance later as well as a set of psychological effects, mentioned in a report published by the "Research Gate" website, such as:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Phobias.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Attachment disorders.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Problems controlling emotion, behavior, perception.
  • Language acquisition problems and academic performance.

    Drought and rising temperatures are among the most life-threatening manifestations of climate change for children today (Pixaby)

Who is most at risk?

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world when it comes to climate change, and according to a report by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), children are less able to survive extreme weather events, and are more vulnerable to toxic chemicals and diseases caused by changing temperatures.

In Yemen, specifically in Taiz, Ola Al-Saqqaf, President of the Peace Environment Organization for Development, was a witness to incidents during which children paid the price of climate change, and says to Al Jazeera Net, "It has become difficult, because of high temperatures, the continuation of many children in schools, where the conditions of war exist, and many schools are no longer operating, which caused overcrowding in those that remained operating, to serve each of them several mountain or rural villages, where the child is sometimes forced to walk long distances Sometimes you get up to an hour or more to and from school, and if it survives the scorching sun, it won't survive a class of at least 60 children, many of whom already have respiratory illnesses."

A tragedy that is completed at times that are supposed to be normal and calm, such as playtime, for example, or even bedtime, and Al-Saqqaf adds, "There are not enough private parks for children in the countryside or even cities, so they usually play in dangerous areas, most of which are on the torrential lines, this happened in Taiz, recently, when a torrent in the city killed two children, and this is repeated a lot with children, as they are unable to act because of their weak strength, light weight, and the same danger haunts the residents of the coastal strip along 2200 kilometers, as the water level continues to rise, which last summer caused many families and their families to drown."

Start erecting water barriers on Yemen's beaches so that coastal residents are not affected by rising sea water (Getty Images)

Measures to protect children

Yemeni researcher and activist Ola Al-Saqqaf suggests some quick measures that will reduce child victims of climate change, namely:

  • Identify special and specific streams for torrents, with adequate guidelines and warnings to prevent approaching them.
  • Start afforestation to reduce the temperature, and encourage children to plant more trees.
  • Educating children in the teacher about ways to preserve the environment, starting with the correct methods of dealing with waste, through the importance of plants and preserving them.
  • Educating children about the seasons and areas of floods and the correct ways to deal with them, and with the significant rise in temperatures.
  • Start erecting water barriers on the beaches so that coastal residents are not affected by the increasing rise of sea water.