Conflict Denies Over 180 Million People Access To Drinking Water – UNICEF
Conflict Denies Over 180 Million People Access To Drinking Water – UNICEF.
As the World Water Week gets underway, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has warned that globally more than 180 million people in countries affected by conflict, violence and instability do not have access to basic drinking water.
In a statement made available to our correspondent, the UNICEF’s Global Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, (WASH), Sanjay Wijesekera, said that “children’s access to safe water and sanitation, especially in conflicts and emergencies, is a right, not a privilege.
“In countries beset by violence, displacement, conflict and instability, children’s most basic means of survival is water and must be a priority.” Wijesekera said according to a recent UNICEF and World Health Organisation (WHO), analysis of the estimated 484 million people living in fragile situations in 2015, 183 million lacked basic drinking water services adding that people living in fragile situations are four times more likely to lack basic drinking water than populations in non-fragile situations.
He said 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.
According to him, “in Yemen, a country reeling from the impact of over two years of conflict, water supply networks that serve the country’s largest cities are at imminent risk of collapse due to war inflicted damage and disrepair, adding that around 15 million people in the country have been cut off from regular access to water and sanitation.
“Also in Yemen, children make up more than 53 per cent of the over half a million cases of suspected cholera and acute watery diarrhoea reported so far while Somalia is suffering from the largest outbreak of cholera in the last five years, with nearly 77,000 cases of suspected cholera/acute watery diarrhoea.” He explained that 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, pointing out that the cholera outbreak in the country is the most severe the South Sudan has ever experienced, with more than 19,000 cases since June 2016.
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, adding that more than five million children are estimated to be malnourished this year, with 1.4 million, severely so.