UNICEF: Save 19 Million Bangladeshi Children from Climate Change!

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund report A Gathering Storm, lots of money is required to save millions of Bangladeshi children from the carbon monster.

Climate change threatens lives and futures of over 19 million children in Bangladesh

UNICEF report calls for urgent action to keep children safe and mitigate impact on vital services

05 April 2019

GENEVA/DHAKA/NEW YORK5 April 2019 – Devastating floods, cyclones and other environmental disasters linked to climate change are threatening the lives and futures of more than 19 million children in Bangladesh, UNICEF said today.

In a new report, UNICEF says that while Bangladeshis have developed admirable powers of resilience, more resources and innovative programmes are urgently needed to avert the danger that climate change represents to the country’s youngest citizens.

“Climate change is deepening the environmental threat faced by families in Bangladesh’s poorest communities, leaving them unable to keep their children properly housed, fed, healthy and educated,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, who visited Bangladesh in early March 2019. “In Bangladesh and around the world, climate change has the potential to reverse many of the gains that countries have achieved in child survival and development.”

The report, A Gathering Storm: Climate change clouds the future of children in Bangladesh, points out that Bangladesh’s flat topography, dense population and weak infrastructure make it uniquely vulnerable to the powerful and unpredictable forces that climate change is compounding. The threat is felt from the flood and drought-prone lowlands in the country’s north to its storm-ravaged coastline along the Bay of Bengal.

Drawing on interviews with families, community leaders and officials, UNICEF says that a combination of extreme weather events – such as flooding, storm surges, cyclones and droughts – and longer-term phenomena directly related to climate change – such as sea level rise and salt water intrusion – are forcing families deeper into poverty and displacement. In the process, children’s access to education and health services is severely disrupted.

Around 12 million of the children most affected live in and around the powerful river systems which flow through Bangladesh and regularly burst their banks. The most recent major flooding of the Brahmaputra River in 2017 inundated at least 480 community health clinics and damaged some 50,000 tube wells, essential for meeting communities’ safe water needs.

Another 4.5 million children live in coastal areas regularly struck by powerful cyclones, including almost half a million Rohingya refugee children living in fragile bamboo and plastic shelters.

A further 3 million children live further inland, where farming communities suffer increasing periods of drought.

The report says that climate change is a key factor pushing poorer Bangladeshis to abandon their homes and communities and to try and rebuild lives elsewhere. Many head to Dhaka and other major cities, where children risk being pushed into dangerous forms of labour and into early marriages. It cites research showing that Bangladesh has 6 million climate migrants already, a number that could more than double by 2050.

“When families migrate from their homes in the countryside because of climate change, children effectively lose their childhoods,” says UNICEF Bangladesh Representative Edouard Beigbeder. “They face danger and deprivation in the cities, as well as pressure to go out to work despite the risk of exploitation and abuse.”

UNICEF points out that since the early 1990s, investment and action – both in disaster preparedness and risk reduction programmes – have made vulnerable communities in Bangladesh more resilient to the dangers of climatic shock. For example, one result has been a dramatic reduction in the mortality rate caused by cyclones over recent decades.
The report calls on the international community and other partners to support the government in implementing a range of initiatives to shield children from the effects of climate change. One example is a technology being promoted by UNICEF and other partners which helps coastal communities protect their vital supplies of drinking water against the intrusion of salt water from the sea. The system – known as Managed Aquifer Recharge – is working in around 75 communities and is ready to be taken to scale.

Source: https://www.unicef.org/rosa/press-releases/climate-change-threatens-lives-and-futures-over-19-million-children-bangladesh

An unimaginable amount of money has been spent over the years “saving” the children of Bangladesh. I remember similar appeals when I was a child, many decades ago. Back then the reason was famine and poverty, now we have to save them from climate change.

Whatever problems those children are facing, I somehow doubt the solution is yet more cash for the United Nations and for the government of Bangladesh.

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April 6, 2019 6:13 pm

The tragic irony is these are the same people Ehrlich and Holdren want to disappear in a poof of The Population Bomb. Their desired global energy policies are a self-fulfilling means to that end. Somehow, I’d guess they sleep well at night with their relative moral framing.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 6, 2019 8:32 pm

I saw a climate refuge in Laos once. In the annual dry climate cycle they along with many others had built a house down on a sandbar in the Mekong River. When the wet season came, the river rose and they packed up and moved off the river .

climate change.. how ever can we cope?

April 6, 2019 6:27 pm

Here are the top ten causes of death in Bangladesh …

Cancer 13%
Lower Respiratory Infections 7%
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 7%
Diarrhea 6%
Ischemic Heart Disease 6%
Stroke 5%
Preterm Birth Complications 4%
Tuberculosis 3%
Neonatal Encephalopathy 3%
Diabetes 3%
Cirrhosis 3%

Climate/weather related 0.03%


I’m not seeing any huge threat from the climate in any of that …


Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 6, 2019 9:12 pm

There is an equally telling fact Bangladesh 325.80 kWh per capita compare that to any developed country or even other developing countries.

You can’t improve a peoples plight without energy, there are no developed countries that use less than 5000 kWh per capita.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2019 12:02 am

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina made that clear much to Gore’s discomfort:

Reply to  Chris Hanley
April 7, 2019 10:54 pm

I remember, some times ago, the absurd propaganda all over the MSM against this coal plant project with inept claims such as “Some Bangladeshi will never see the sunset again !”.

Defending the people of her country, PM Sheikh Hasina’s arguments go straight in the nose of all those selfish Malthusian hypocrytes who want to achieve only one goal :
– neither economic, nor social development, but third World population decimation by poverty and starvation.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 7, 2019 5:21 am

What Willis? All of these health issues are made worse by the stress of climate change, just compare Canada and Mexico for the temperature correlation. /sc

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 7, 2019 8:38 am

w. ==> During my lifetime, weather/climate has killed almost a million people in Bangladesh. The 1970 Bhola cyclone alone claimed approximately 300,000 to 500,000 lives — so many that the survivors could not count those lost.

I included some of this history in a fairly recent essay here: BANGLADESH: The Deep Delta Blues.

The UNICEF report includes a great deal of CAGW hysteria and calls for an incredible amount of propagandizing of children in Bangladesh.

But the Bottom Line remains — poverty and geography continue to make Bangladesh a very hard place to live — almost the entire country is at risk of flooding either from the sea or the rivers that feed the delta.

Readers concerned should consider donating to effective efforts to improve conditions there — I recommend spending a couple of hours investigating charities before donating to ensure your funds actually go to programs that help people and not 6 figure executive salaries.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 7, 2019 3:50 pm

Bangladesh was East Pakistan in 1969. It appears that UNICEF is trying to rewrite history. I belief the Bhopal cyclone was the worst ever — 50 years ago.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 7, 2019 6:25 pm

And it sure looks like a mess
I’ve never seen such distress
Now won’t you lend your hand and understand?
Relieve the people of Bangladesh

George Harrison was unavailable for comment

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 7, 2019 8:50 am

Willis, There you go destroying their sympathetic feelings with facts and data. We can’t have that since UNICEF gets lots of money to make people feel good. (yes I am being sarcastic!) There are too many of these NGOs that swindle the gullible.

Thank you Willis for providing the data. I look forward to seeing your posts as they are always interesting.

Reply to  RetiredEE
April 7, 2019 11:39 am

I recall watching many years ago a tv piece (possibly John Pilger on BBC) showing the employee car park outside a large UN building in an African capital. The reporter was standing in the midst of more than fifty identical white Toyota 4x4s, all brand new with consecutive registration plates. Now, when I see charity begging by luvvie UNICEF “ambassadors” I just think back to that reporter.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Prince Edward Country
April 6, 2019 6:50 pm

I wonder if the UN would have considered the Irish who left to come to Canad a and the USA in the 1840’s “climate refugees”.

It seems pretty obvious that no matter what happens – storms, wind, water – anything that harms people is blamed on “climate change”. The default answer if you point out climate change is undetectable, is that “It would not have been so bad if we had no contributed to global warming.”

That is cute, and unfalsifiable. If you cannot detect something, how could anyone prove it “made things worse”? How do we know “it” didn’t make things better? If something is undetectable, there is no proof offered by assuming “it will be worse”.

If people are being harmed by storms on the edges of river estuaries, how may are dying? The number is wa-a-ay down over the past 100 years. How about food and hunger? There is much more food than ever before, and hunger, especially chronic hunger, is down globally.

As far as we can tell, global warming brings numerous benefits. If it brings more rainfall to the upper reaches of the rivers of Bangladesh, the islands at the mouth of the delta will continue to grow, and even accelerate in their land area gain. The total land area of Bangladesh is increasing, in case no one pointed that out to you, dear readers.

Gary Pearse

Prince Edward Country? County?

Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 7, 2019 4:39 am

Either one. Crispin really gets around.

Tom Abbott

“It seems pretty obvious that no matter what happens – storms, wind, water – anything that harms people is blamed on “climate change”. The default answer if you point out climate change is undetectable, is that “It would not have been so bad if we had no contributed to global warming.”

The answer to that is the weather events taking place today are no more extreme than the weather events that took place when CO2 was not considered a factor.

There is no unprecedented weather going on. It’s all happened before. We have records to prove it.

If one expects to see CAGW (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming) in every weather event, then that is what they will see. It should be pointed out that wishful thinking is not evidence of anything other than confusion, in the CAGW case.

The above article is pure propaganda focused on promoting CAGW and using the children of Bangladesh as pawns in their power/money grab. No CAGW claim in it is truthful.


Crispin ==> You might have missed mine on Bangladesh: BANGLADESH: The Deep Delta Blues.

Too much poverty, too many people, too much water, not enough land.

It is the kind of place that makes some of us wish we could just go there, settle in and try to do something, anything, to help.

Johann Wundersamer

The total land area of Bangladesh is increasing,

due to submerging under the weight of heavy dike constructions – that keeps the coast free of brackish water while the dams hold the sea waters Niveau half a meter higher than the protected area.


Gary Pearse
April 6, 2019 6:53 pm

This confirms a suspicion I’ve felt concerning what really is driving the over the top hysteria from IPCC, other Catastrophic AGW institutions, the Big Left and climate science grant seekers. A poker player would identify the ‘tell’ that the chief worry is that the much postponed and modified and adjusted catastrophic warming and its supposed consequences have raised looming doubts about the science in the consensus’s own minds. The urgency from their perception and fears that signs of a period of cooling are increasing in probability (with the chance of a return of the Dreaded Pause)is driving them to get planet saving policy in place within an impossibly short time frame to get ahead of the parade and take credit for the natural cooling event.

They chose Bangladesh, and in their hysteria “the children” because this country is developing into a miracle economically and they want to take credit for “saving them”.

” Based on the international poverty line of $1.90 per person per day, poverty declined from 44.2 percent in 1991 to 13.8 percent in 2016/17. In parallel, life expectancy, literacy rates and per capita food production have increased significantly. Progress was underpinned by 6 percent plus growth over the decade and reaching to 7.3 percent in 2016/2017, according to official estimates. Rapid growth enabled Bangladesh to reach the lower middle-income country status in 2015. In 2018, Bangladesh met the eligibility criteria for graduation from the United Nation’s Least Developed Countries (LDC) list, and is on track to graduate in 2024.”


Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 6, 2019 7:08 pm

A big and illogical part of the catastrophic global warming “concerns” is that the poor countries would be disproportionately harmed. The Néomarxistes are terrified of 3rd world success at banishing poverty without their “help”. They are helping themselves admirably and their Prime Minister, Shiekh Hasina, recently put Al Gore in his place regarding their construction of a large coal-fired electricity plant. Go Bangladesh!

Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 6, 2019 8:26 pm

“…..driving them to get planet saving policy in place within an impossibly short time frame to get ahead of the parade and take credit for the natural cooling event”. Excellent assessment of their motivation. but they won’t make it because CO2 will still be rising if/when the cooling takes place. Then what will be their fallback? Although be sure they are already working on one.

Reply to  markl
April 6, 2019 9:57 pm

The fallback is already in place by virtue-default. The highly educated scientifically retarded people and other useful idiots they preach to have mostly never heard of the Keeling curve, wouldn’t know what it is, and wouldn’t know where to find it anyway. They don’t know what ppm means. I recently had a discussion with a former career senior UC Berkeley mathematician in a group at a coffee shop in Berkeley. When I routinely said “climate sensitivity to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide”, he had no idea what I was talking about, so changed the subject to ocean acidification as fast as he could. (He didn’t like my use of the phrase pH 8.3 either). These clowns have strident opinions on the subject and organize marches to tackle climate.

April 6, 2019 7:11 pm

“Climate change is deepening the environmental threat faced by families in Bangladesh’s poorest communities, leaving them unable to keep their children properly housed, fed, healthy and educated”

Bangladesh was doing just great til this climate change stuff.

Walter Sobchak
April 6, 2019 8:08 pm

Of course the people of Bangladesh will be miserable if the climate changes. They will be miserable if the climate does not change. They are miserable now, but their problems are cultural and political. Destroying industrial civilization in an undoubtedly vain attempt to protect them hurts both them and us, and does nothing to attack their real problems.

Bangladesh has a population of ~164 million living on ~56,000 mi^2 of land. Almost 3,000 people/mi^2. The next two most densely populated large countries (excluding city states like Singapore) are South Korea and Taiwan at ~1,700 and ~1,300. Both of which have 1st world quality industrial economies. Bangladesh is poor with a GDP of ~$4,200/cap (Taiwan ~$48,000; South Korea $38,000)

It is true that Bangladesh has actually reduced its Total Fertility Rate among its female population to the no growth threshold of 2.1 And, it has had vigorous economic growth in recent years >7%. But it has a long way to go before it gets out of the third world. It needs economic growth, and further declines in fertility, not the termination of industrial civilization.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
April 6, 2019 8:58 pm

2.1, 7% growth! Walter, that’s all it takes -they are already there in spades. Bangladesh has experienced a miracle – indeed the whole 3rd World is on its way. Theyve just built a modern coal-fired power plant in Bangladesh as have dozens of other formerly, seemingly perennial basket case countries. Peak population by mid century and a Garden of Eden greening and productivity. This is the beginning of the end for the sad, sick Malthusians and the unbelievably antediluvian but tenaciously witless grouchy marxbrothers. All that will be left is a few end -is-nigh scruffs with sandwich boards.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 6, 2019 10:03 pm

I think you underestimate these freakshows Gary. They’ll find a way to claim credit (and cash) as long as they have control of the media.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  philincalifornia
April 7, 2019 5:29 am

“as long as they have control of the media.”

I would say that is the biggest problem the world’s people have right now: A corrupt, biased Leftwing Media that is bound and determined to lead the world down the wrong path for partisan political purposes and in the process take away the individual freedoms of everyone.

Those who misuse the US First Amendment as a cover for leftwing propaganda are extremely dangerous to all of us and our personal freedoms. We can’t govern ourselves properly based on lies, and that’s just about all we get from the Leftwing Media nowadays.

One bright spot is we still have a free internet and free speech, at least in the good ole USA, although it is under assault from the Left, because they want to shut up the opposition. Totalitarians always want to shut up the opposition. That’s one of the first steps they take to consolidate their power.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
April 7, 2019 5:15 am

“It [Banglafdesh] needs economic growth, and further declines in fertility, not the termination of industrial civilization.”

Good way to put it! 🙂

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
April 7, 2019 10:52 am

To compare, the Mississippi River Delta state of Louisiana is roughly the same size as Bangladesh and has a population of under 5 million.

April 6, 2019 8:17 pm

“The November 11, 1970 “Bhola Cyclone” moved into East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh, and produced devastating storm surge flooding. The storm surge was estimated to be 20-30 feet high (some sources put this range even higher).

As a result, at least 300,000 people in the low-lying region near the Bangladesh coast were killed by massive flooding from the powerful cyclone. The actual number of people killed varies by source and could be as high as 500,000. Using either figure, this is the deadliest known tropical cyclone in history. Over 45 percent of the population of 167,000 in the city of Tazumuddin was killed, according to NOAA.

Sadly, this isn’t the only tropical cyclone that has resulted in a large death toll in Bangladesh. According to a publication from the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, a total of 10 tropical cyclones since 1876 have had death tolls of 5,000 or higher. Four of those cyclones killed 100,000 or more. Most recently, Cyclone Gorky killed nearly 140,000 in 1991.”

People should have abandoned that area decades ago. There will be more such tragedies, and they will have absolutely nothing to do with climate change.

Reply to  jtom
April 6, 2019 9:16 pm

They can’t abandon it as Bangladesh has the 10th highest population in the world.
It is a country of 147,570 square km with 180million people crammed into it.

To put that in perspective for US citizens it is the entire population of the USA jammed into the state of Iowa.

David Minn
Reply to  jtom
April 7, 2019 8:56 am

Bangladesh has such a large population because the land is so incredibly fertile. It grows enough food to support its people. You see plenty of evidence of poverty but little evidence of malnutrition.

Bill Treuren
April 6, 2019 8:18 pm

I thought the country was to disappear before 2012 according to the 1992 IPCC report and predictions.

John V. Wright
April 6, 2019 8:46 pm

Bangladesh has long suffered the devastating effects of cyclones on its low-lying land and coastal areas. There must be other WUWTers who remember George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh in the early 1970s. This was the first rock concert held to raise disaster relief funds (L!veAid and others would follow). Can’t remember if it was in the Filmore East or Madison Square Gardens but along with that gifted Beatle it also featured Billy Preston, Klaus Voorman, Leon Russell and Ravi Shankar. Was Dylan in there too? Anyway, it was a great concert and I bought the album as it was in a good cause and a terrific event.

This just serves to remind folks that Bangladesh has struggled for a long time to raise itself out of poverty and those struggles have been ongoing for generations, long before climate change became the globally convenient peg on which to hang causation. I also recall that in the past year or so there was a report in these columns that Bangladesh had commissioned five coal-fired power stations so we should applaud the fact that the government there clearly does not buy into the CAGW nonsense and is using fossil fuels to provide urgently-needed power for its citizens.

April 7, 2019 12:16 am

If flooding is being caused by rivers bursting their banks this is a engineering problem and an area where investment of cash may well be justified. Building in low lying deltas, probably not.

Reply to  Susan
April 7, 2019 8:51 am

Susan ==> Bangladesh is way past that — and engineered polders are part of the problem. See my essay linked in a couple of comments above. Bangladesh is one of those places where we would be wrong to think “It can’t be that bad.” It really is worse.

E J Zuiderwijk
April 7, 2019 12:24 am

The well-known solution for flooding is building dikes and investing in pumps. If all else fails, fill and carry sandbags.

Fernandes Joseph
April 7, 2019 3:39 am

The developed countries must decuple research on energy storage. This solution would put renouvables
In the forefront. I appeal to all the advanced countries to do so. We are very near to the ultimate solution. Time is running short.
Joseph Fernandes France

Reply to  Fernandes Joseph
April 7, 2019 3:32 pm

If we are so close to the ultimate solution, would you mind giving us a clue what it is?

Reply to  Fernandes Joseph
April 14, 2019 1:16 pm

Research on energy storage deprives nothing from renewables. We are so affluent, we do both.

But renewables have been studied to death for decades. We are running into the limits of physics, NOT adequate financing of research. You can only get so much energy out of a solar panel or windmill. And it is no where near adequate. Indeed, it is trivial. Given global population and electricity demand, it will never be more than trivial.

Serge Wright
April 7, 2019 4:06 am
Ivor Ward
April 7, 2019 4:08 am

Whenever Pollies and Posers want to evade responsibility for their failures they scream “Climate Change!”
Nothing much changes in actual fact except the excuses and the volume.

April 7, 2019 5:45 am

Save them from their evil worthless government. That was always the threat to the kids in “Save the Children” and feeding did nothing but turn them into starving adults as the aid dried up when they passed 18. Now it’s climate change? Charities are abominable horrors these days. Direct aid to someone you know is the only way to go. The best aid isn’t money—it’s a hand up and if you stick to those you actually know, this can happen.

( I once gave to STC until I discovered the family had more disposable income than I did.)

Coach Springer
April 7, 2019 5:53 am

“. Caused by four Plasmodium species (P vivax, P falciparum, P ovale and P malariae), malaria is a public health problem in 90 countries around the world, affecting 300 million people and responsible directly for about one million deaths annually. Africa accounts for 90% of the mortality burden for malaria and South-east Asia accounts for 9% of the burden. Bangladesh is considered as one of the malaria endemic countries in South Asia.” – reliefWeb

Like UNICEF gives da*n more about death than green politics.

April 7, 2019 7:17 am


A G Foster
April 7, 2019 7:33 am

There are millions of tube wells on the Delta, sucking up fresh water and sucking in salt water. And in some places the delta is growing, at about the rate of erosion. Increased glacier melting would be expected to increase sedimentation. Remember Pachauri’s Himalayan fairy tale. –AGF

Ian L. McQueen
April 7, 2019 10:13 am

What about subsidence?

April 7, 2019 3:29 pm

“…protect their vital supplies of drinking water against the intrusion of salt water from the sea. The system – known as Managed Aquifer Recharge…”

Now recharging an aquifer is no good at all against a raising sea level, only against a sinking ground-water level. So the problem is overuse of groundwater, not climate change. Incidentally groundwater should be used with great caution in Bangladesh since it is often (naturally) arsenic-contaminated.


April 8, 2019 11:48 am

Send in Ted Turner and all of his money.

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