Weather Disasters | UNICEF USA
Students help restore an elementary school in Mananjary, Madagascar that was heavily damaged by Cyclone Batsirai.
 
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Roughly 1 billion children worldwide are at extremely high risk due to climate impacts, including climate-related disasters. These include extreme weather events, which have grown more intense and more frequent as a result of climate change.

With every hurricane or cyclone strike, children who are already vulnerable, including children whose families live in poverty, are disproportionately impacted — and the impacts can be devastating. Monsoons trigger flooding and landslides that wipe out entire towns. A typhoon's destructive winds uproot trees and turn buildings and roads into rubble. 

Those living in affected areas are often displaced — forced to flee to safety as homes, schools and other critical infrastructure are damaged or destroyed. Safe drinking water, health care and nutrition become even more difficult to access. Children are cut off from schooling, and can lose critical social services and protection — and become separated from parents — all while finding themselves in hazardous environments. Risks of violence, exploitation and abuse increase. In some places, this is especially the case for girls and children with disabilities.

How UNICEF helps vulnerable children, families and communities impacted by weather disasters

When a weather disaster looms, threatening vulnerable communities, UNICEF is among the first on the ground, often prepositioning supplies in advance of an emergency response — shipping from its massive supply warehouse in Copenhagen — and partnering with governments and other local partners to meet urgent needs.

Emergency assistance measures often include: 

  • supporting displaced children and families at temporary shelters
  • distributing safe water and hygiene supplies to prevent spread of disease
  • providing emergency health care including essential vaccines
  • distributing educational materials and creating safe spaces where displaced children can learn and play 
  • identifying children who have become separated and reuniting them with their families or caregivers

UNICEF also supports longer-term recovery efforts in the wake of weather disasters — partnering to help communities and countries become better prepared, protected and resilient. 

UNICEF responds to hundreds of humanitarian emergencies every year while working to reduce disaster risks and otherwise mitigate the impacts of climate change on vulnerable children, families and communities. Learn more.

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Top photo: Students pitch in to help restore an elementary school in Mananjary, Madagascar, that suffered heavy damage when back-to-back cyclones, Batsirai and Emnati, hit the area in February 2022. UNICEF's emergency response included distributing relief kits to affected families and building latrines for improved sanitation and hygiene. UNICEF also set up temporary classrooms and distributed school supplies to keep children learning. © UNICEF/UN0605768/Raharinaivo