Crisis

Energy Crisis facing Latin America and the Caribbean

80 million people currently living in Latin America and Caribbean are without clean and safe cooking facilities from using solid fuels (kerosene,wood and diesel etc.) which causes 3.5 million deaths a year globally, the majority women and children.

30 million people in the region live their lives without electricity.

With the volatile nature and cost of petroleum now, electricity produced from oil products (whether it be diesel or heavy oil), and the outdated inefficient electrical grids make the cost of electricity 3 to 4 times  the rate in a developed country.

The annual demand for energy has increased yearly on an average of 4.5% in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

Countries in the region pay as much as 10% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for electricity which is the value of ALL the finished goods and services within a country’s borders.

The islands of the Caribbean, through climate change (rising sea-levels, and increased frequency/strength of hurricanes, and natural disasters) make the island nations  vulnerable and at the mercy of mother nature.

Latin America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of motorization of ANY region in the world (about the same as China) at nearly 4.5% per year. But unlike China, the majority of the population lives in these highly congested and populated cities.

78% of the population in the Latin American and Caribbean region are considered urban, these cities are often congested with cars and pollution.

Air pollution caused by fossil fuels has severe health effects and children, who are the most at risk.

Even when there IS energy available, it is often outdated and unreliable which causes power outages that can last for hours and sometimes days.

Energy Needs for a child’s development

Reliable and safe energy sources can reduce child mortality, improve childhood development, maternal health, and education for a child.

Several areas where energy is critical for the optimal development of a child include:  education, health, household and water.

Education

Energy at schools provide a better experience for the students, but also benefits the students by increasing their opportunities for their future. It has also been founded that lighting has a direct influence on the student class attendance.

Lighting is crucial which it allows for extended hours for the schools after sunset, which could facilitate more classes or vocational training for the community.

Fossil fuels used in schools for lighting and cooking causes a serious health risk with indoor air pollution and reduces the time available for education as the fuel is gathered by both students and teachers.

Energy access provide great benefits for the students long after they leave school with employment opportunities and income generation.

Energy in rural school helps attract and retain qualified teachers and staff with the use of teaching aids and educational equipment.

Health

Energy plays a significant role in providing better medical services for children.

Health facilities with electricity can are able to perform critical medical attention at all hours of the night, which at times, are life-saving.

Energy is critical for childbirth, there is a correlation between electric lighting during delivery and the reduction of complications during childbirth.

Energy is not only needed for light, but medical equipment can be better sterilize their medical equipment and increase their overall hygienics.

Clinics need reliable energy for operating medical equipment and refrigeration that store blood donations, medication, and children’s vaccines.

Almost HALF of all vaccines delivered to developing countries are going to waste due to unreliable electricity due to outdated electrical grids.

Clinics with access to energy are able to obtain and retain a qualified medical staff, especially in remote areas.

Energy Needs of Children

Households

Most rural homes in this region rely heavily on traditional biomass, such as coal, charcoal and non­renewable dirty fuels such as kerosene, candles, disposable batteries and toxic fuels like diesel for energy sources.

The use of unsafe energy sources in the home has been proven to lead to poor nutrition resulting from improper cooking and unable to proper boil water which leads to diarrhea, cholera, typhus and dysentery.

Exposure to indoor pollution from the use of wood or kerosene makes both women and children the most vulnerable due to the amount of time they spend indoors.

Almost 50% of all pneumonia deaths among children under five are found to be due to inhaling this indoor pollution.

Low birth rate, tuberculosis, heart disease and some forms of cancers have been linked to children and their exposure to indoor pollution.

Using kerosene to light/heat homes increases the dangers that are involved with using around children which includes: accidental ingestion, burns and respiratory injuries.

Modern energy for cooking/heating relieve women and children from the time­-consuming drudgery and danger from traveling gathering the wood for use.

Water

Water is critical for life and a child’s development.

Energy is needed to provide water for the people for use and consumption.

Energy is required for drilling, transporting, pumping and treating water for safe usage.

1.8 million child deaths annually from diarrhoea, which is spread by poor water quality and poor hygiene.

443 million school days are lost each year as a result of water-related illnesses.

Millions of women and girls spend hours daily fetching water which those hours could have been used for education or vocational purpos

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