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Teenager states fears of rising malaria cases and links to extreme weather

13-year-old Kenyan ambassador Ellyanne Wanjiku Chlystun meets the King at Cop28 (PA)
13-year-old Kenyan ambassador Ellyanne Wanjiku Chlystun meets the King at Cop28 (PA)

A 13 year-old girl, who met the King at the Cop28 climate summit, says that global warming is not something she “can push to the back of my mind”, amid fears it is adding to the malaria risk that is threatening her homeland.

Ellyanne Wanjiku Chlystun met Charles earlier this week at an event during the summit – where she has been acting as a Kenyan climate, finance and health champion and zero malaria ambassador.

Charles also spoke to Grace Malie, the Tuvaluan youth delegate for the Rising Nations Initiative, at the meeting in Dubai which was hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

It aims to protect the statehood of Pacific Atoll countries which are on the front line of the global climate emergency, preserve their sovereignty and safeguard the rights and heritage of affected populations.

Ellyanne later spoke of fears about rising malaria cases against a backdrop of extreme weather events.

She said: “I am 13 and expect to see the year 2100. When we talk about 1.5 degrees of warming, this isn’t something I can push to the back of my mind. It’s a story that feels like it is fast being written for my generation.

Cop28 summit
The King meeting Grace Malie (left) and Ellyanne Chlyslun-Githae (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“As weather patterns change, malaria cases are rising. Where I live in Kenya, malaria is appearing in new places where it has never been seen before. You have the levers of change in your hands. Let’s act quickly.”

She is at the summit in Dubai to try and raise awareness of the links between changing weather patterns and malaria.

More than 600,000 people, mainly children, die from malaria every year – a treatable and preventable disease.

She added: “Changing weather around the world is making malaria even harder to control.

“This disease affects children the most, with a child dying every minute from malaria.”

She is also launching a new Zero Malaria campaign – Change the Story – which features a film with Ellyanne and former footballer David Beckham, who is also an ambassador for the project.