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Impact of Extreme Weather Events on the Health and Education of Young People in the Brazilian Semiarid Region

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the IICA, through the Semear International Program, joined the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to elaborate a study that aims to contribute to the understanding of the impact of extreme climatic events on the lives of children and adolescents in the Brazilian Northeastern Semiarid. The articulation was naturally made possible due to the intersection between the themes most relevant for the two agencies in Brazil, notably the semi-arid, childhood and youth, worked from the perspective of improving people’s capacities.

During the conception of the study, Unicef ​​Salvador contributed with the presentation of the team from the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), which was responsible, through a research group specifically designated for the preparation of the study and the development of all research and analyzes that compose it. Methodologically, the study was made possible by the construction of three databases for the Northeast region: climatic (rainfall, monthly temperature and emergency situations); health (Informatics Department of the Unified Health System – Datasus); and education (National Institute of Educational Studies and Research Anísio Teixeira – Inep).

The results found confirm that the climatic shocks and the absence of rainfall they are associated with worse health and education indicators, with their negative effects being most felt in the semi-arid area. It has been proven that there are connections between the increase in infant mortality and the availability and quality of water, for example. Another expressive effect is related to the impact of drought periods on school progress, corroborating that the lack of adequate hydration also reverberates in the cognitive increase of children and adolescents in the Brazilian Semiarid Region, which contributes negatively to the historical and chronic problem of human underdevelopment in the region.