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3.6 Million People in Northeast Nigeria Without Access to Basic Water Services – UNICEF

Photo UNICEF/Gilbertson: Children drink from a tap during recess at a UNICEF supported primary school inside Bukasi internally displaced people's camp, in Maiduguri, Borno state, Nigeria

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) August 29, warned that children living in fragile situations are four times more likely to lack access to drinking water.

The agency stated that 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 a statement to mark World Water Week, Sanjay Wijesekera, UNICEF’s global chief of water, sanitation and hygiene. Said that “Children’s access to safe water and sanitation, especially in conflicts and emergencies, is a right, not a privilege.”

With more than 180 million people in crisis-torn countries without access to drinking water, UNICEF stated that children’s most basic means of survival – water – must be a priority in countries beset by violence, displacement, conflict and instability.

“In far too many cases, water and sanitation systems have been attacked, damaged or left in disrepair to the point of collapse. 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,” said Mr. Wijesekera.

UNICEF said that Around 15 million people in Yemen have been cut off from regular access to water and sanitation; That in Syria, water has frequently been used as a weapon of war, resulting in around 15 million people are in need of safe water, including an estimated 6.4 million children; And that in South Sudan, almost half the water points across the country have been damaged or completely destroyed.

To mark World Water Week, UNICEF reminded the world that in “famine-threatened north-east Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, nearly 30 million people, including 14.6 million children, are in urgent need of safe water. More than five million children are estimated to be malnourished this year.”