WaterAid’s weathered dolls houses show how climate change devastates children’s futures

WaterAid has unveiled an installation of three dolls houses – each at different stages of flooding – on the docks of London’s Canary Wharf, to highlight the effects of the climate crisis on children globally and demand urgent action from governments ahead of COP27 this November.

The international charity worked with Bristol-based artist and set-designer, Max Dorey, to create the dolls’ houses – populated with everyday childhood items such as toys and letter-blocks – and showing the devastation caused by rising flood waters.

The final dolls house is almost completely submerged, ruined by dirty floodwater – a stark reminder that the impacts of climate change are being felt by children and their families across the world right now. It’s estimated that children born today will live through nearly three times as many floods as their grandparents.1

According to the World Bank, climate change is already causing an unprecedented rise in flood levels across the world with nearly 1 in 4 people – 1.81 billion – facing this threat globally, a 23 per cent increase on previous estimates, affecting 340 million more people2.This includes people in the UK – according to NASA, areas of London are at risk of regular flooding by 2030, including Canary Wharf3.

This is making an already difficult situation worse for the 771 million people – one in 10 – currently living without access to clean water close to home and 1.7 billion people – more than one in five – living without access to a decent toilet.

Extreme weather events, like catastrophic floods, can wipe out fragile water and sanitation infrastructures, polluting existing water supplies and spreading deadly diseases such as cholera. Prolonged droughts force women and girls to walk ever greater distances to collect water.

Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive of WaterAid, said:

“Over recent months the world has borne witness to devastating weather events, claiming the lives of thousands of people. Unprecedented monsoon rain has left a third of Pakistan submerged and millions still in urgent need of aid. Europe baked under unusually high temperatures while the Horn of Africa continues to suffer the worst drought in 40 years, with millions facing famine.”

These dolls houses are a stark reminder that climate change is happening right now, ravaging the lives of children and their families globally. Yet global leaders seemingly sleep-walk from one natural disaster to the next. COP27 offers a real opportunity for action.”

That is why WaterAid is urging the UK government to lead rich nations in ensuring vulnerable communities can access a reliable source of water so they can protect themselves from the devastating effects of climate change. This cannot be another missed opportunity for lasting change. The world will be watching.”

WaterAid’s poignant installation is part the charity’s Our Climate Fight campaign, highlighting how the climate crisis is a water crisis. Ahead of COP27, WaterAid is urging the UK government to stay the course on global climate leadership by investing one-third of the UK’s committed international climate funding on locally-led adaptation projects. This will help vulnerable communities get a reliable source of clean water to better adapt to climate change.

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