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Dhaka Tribune

Unicef: Children face extremely high risk in Bangladesh’s scorching heatwave

  • Children should have minimal outdoor activities during midday, afternoon
  • Parents need to recognize symptoms of heat stress
Update : 24 Apr 2024, 03:41 PM

As an oppressive heatwave continues to grip Bangladesh, Unicef expresses deep concern for the health and safety of children across the nation amidst sweltering temperatures.

Citing Unicef’s 2021 Children’s Climate Risk Index (CCRI), which identifies children in the country as being at “extremely high risk” of the impacts of climate change, the organization highlights the grave dangers posed by the unusual rise in temperatures.

Newborns, infants, and young children, considered among the most vulnerable populations to heat-related illnesses, face increased risks of heat stroke and dehydration-induced diarrhea.

In response to the Primary and Mass Education Ministry’s decision to close all government primary schools until April 27 due to rising temperatures, Unicef urges parents to exercise extra vigilance in ensuring their children remain hydrated and safe.

The severity of the ongoing heatwave underscores the urgent need for action to shield children from the worsening impacts of climate change.

With temperatures reaching unprecedented levels, prioritizing the well-being of children and vulnerable populations is paramount.

Unicef outlines crucial steps for frontline workers, parents, families, caregivers, and local authorities to protect children and pregnant women during this heatwave:

Prevention: Create cooler spaces for children to sit or play indoors. Minimize outdoor activities during hot midday and afternoon hours. Ensure children wear light, breathable clothing and stay hydrated throughout the day.

First aid: Recognize symptoms of heat stress, such as dizziness, excessive sweating, nausea, fever, nosebleeds, muscle cramps, or heat rashes. Provide immediate care by moving the individual to a cool, shaded area with good ventilation, applying wet towels or cool water to the body, and administering water or Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS). Severe symptoms necessitate urgent hospitalization.

Community support: Check on vulnerable neighbors, including families, children with disabilities, pregnant women, and the elderly, who face heightened risks during heatwaves. Extend support and assistance to those in need, especially those living alone.

By adhering to these guidelines and working collaboratively, communities can mitigate the adverse effects of the heatwave and safeguard the well-being of children and vulnerable individuals across Bangladesh.

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