There are more children who die from lack of access to safe water than by bullets in protracted conflicts region, the United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) stated in a new report yesterday.
Children under the age of 15, living in countries affected by protracted conflict are, on average, almost three times more likely to die from diarrhea diseases caused by a lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene than by direct violence.
Research by “Water Under Fire” looked at mortality rates in 16 countries going through prolonged conflicts and findings revealed that, in most of them, children under the age of five are more than 20 times more likely to die from diarrhea-related deaths linked to lack of access to safe water and sanitation than direct violence.
UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore stated that the odds were already stacked against children living through prolonged conflicts with many unable to reach a safe water source.
UNICEF, Nigeria representative, Muhammed Fall also said, in Nigeria, conflict had created huge challenges for people living in the North-east of the country, where violence had affected their ability to access water and sanitation, leading to diseases such as cholera.
“More than 3.6 million people are in need of water, sanitation and hygiene services – 1.1 million of these are internally displaced (IDPs), having fled their homes, due to violence and conflict.
“Many of them are out-of-reach, in remote areas still impacted by conflict. About 800,000 people are in hard-to-reach areas and 79 percent of these are children and women,” said Mohamed Fall.
In north-east Nigeria, 5,365 people were affected by cholera, with 61 dying in 2017, while 12,643 people were affected and 175 died of cholera in 2018.