As detailed in a new report from UNICEF, from 2016 to 2021 an estimated 43.1 million children were displaced from their homes due to weather-related disasters. As this chart shows, the largest number of children affected in this period were in the Philippines. Of the country's estimated 9.7 million displaced children, an estimated 8.3 million were forced to leave their homes - on either a short-lived or protracted basis - due to storms. Globally, storms were also found to be the biggest cause of such displacement, totaling 21.2 million over the six-year period.
India was estimated to be the second most-affected country, with 6.7 million children displaced. There, floods were the chief cause of child displacement (3.9 million), followed by storms (2.8 million). The United States also makes the top end of the list, with primarily storms and wildfires leading to around 1.7 million displaced children.
Aside from the clear risks to children in such situations of becoming separated from their caregivers and being exposed to exploitation and abuse, UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell also highlighted the inherent psychological trauma they can cause: “It is terrifying for any child when a ferocious wildfire, storm or flood barrels into their community...for those who are forced to flee, the fear and impact can be especially devastating, with worry of whether they will return home, resume school, or be forced to move again."