Over 180 million people lack access to basic drinking water – UNICEF
More than 180 million people do not have access to basic drinking water in countries affected by conflict, violence and instability around the world, the…
More than 180 million people do not have access to basic drinking water in countries affected by conflict, violence and instability around the world, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has said.
UNICEF stated this on Monday as World Water Week gets closer adding that children living in fragile situations are four times more likely to lack access to basic drinking water.
UNICEF’s global chief of water, sanitation and hygiene Sanjay Wijesekera said children’s access to safe water and sanitation, especially in conflicts and emergencies, is a right and not a privilege.
“In countries beset by violence, displacement, conflict and instability, children’s most basic means of survival, water must be a priority.”
A recent analysis by UNICEF and World Health Organisation revealed that of the estimated 484 million people living in fragile situations in 2015, 183 million lacked basic drinking water services as people living in fragile situations are four times more likely to lack basic drinking water than populations in non-fragile situations,
“In conflict affected areas in northeast Nigeria, 75 per cent of water and sanitation infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, leaving 3.6 million people without even basic water services.
In South Sudan, where fighting has raged for over three years, almost half the water points across the country have been damaged or completely destroyed.”
Wijesekera said, in many cases, water and sanitation systems have been attacked, damaged or left in disrepair to the point of collapse adding that when children have no safe water to drink, and when health systems are left in ruins, malnutrition and potentially fatal diseases like cholera will inevitably follow.
“In famine-threatened northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, nearly 30 million people, including 14.6 million children, are in urgent need of safe water. More than 5 million children are estimated to be malnourished this year, with 1.4 million severely so.”