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UP kids top in climate change vulnerability index

Lucknow, June 6 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh tops in child vulnerability index in relation to climate change.

As per the Disaster Scorecard for states and union territories of India Report brought out by the Union ministry of home affairs, Uttar Pradesh has the highest Child Vulnerability Index of 4.61.

It is followed by Bihar (4.54), Rajasthan (4.49), Madhya Pradesh (4.48), Andhra Pradesh (4.37), Assam (4.27), Odisha (4. 21) and Chhattisgarh (4.00).

The state also ranks high on the disaster risk index whereas its disaster resilience index was low.

To note, disaster risk index refers to the average risk of death in a geographical region in large or medium-scale disasters such as earthquakes, tropical cyclones and floods. It is derived from meteorological data tabulated between 1980 to 2000. In India, UP ranks among the top three on the count.

The capacity of communities to prepare, absorb and recover from natural hazard events, and the capacities of communities to learn, adapt and transform towards resilience defines the disaster resilience index.

UP stands at number 20 among the Indian states on this parameter. The facts came to the fore at a dialogue on climate change and children organised by social organisation UNICEF and department of environment in the run up to World Environment Day.

Calling children as the primary victims of natural disasters, experts pointed out that the child vulnerability index also includes population and age group of children, out of school children, infant mortality rate among other things.

Nagendra Singh, specialist WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), said, “Children are more vulnerable than adults to environmental changes due to reasons like small physical size; physiological and cognitive immaturity; dependence on caregivers for safety and protection.”

He added that children are also bound to get a much higher exposure to environmental hazard, develop severe infection and experience complications during recovery due to less developed immunity systems.

Education specialist Ritwik Patra added that children more often pulled out of school to help support their families whenever there is drought or flood.

He also apprised about the concept of green schools which aim to inculcate environmental sensitivity and promote environmental sustainability by encouraging judicious use of resources, cutting down risk factors and preparing children for calamities. The experts said that children are agents of change and that climate was one area which will decide the way they live in future.