Over 800 children under five years die every day around the world from diarrhoea linked to inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene, reports NaijaAgroNet.
With the population growth, increased water consumption, and higher demand for water largely due to industrialization and urbanization, NaijaAgroNet gathered have gravely paved the way to draining of water resources worldwide, in addition to conflicts in many parts of the world also threaten children’s access to safe water.
As said by UNICEF in its Thirsting for a Future: Water and children in a changing climate, the above factors force children to use unsafe water, which exposes them to potentially deadly diseases like cholera and diarrhoea.
“Many children in drought-affected areas spend hours every day collecting water, missing out on a chance to go to school. Girls are especially vulnerable to attack during these times,” UNICEF official said in a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet.
The poorest and most vulnerable children, NaijaAgroNet reports, will be most impacted by an increase in water stress, as millions of them already live in areas with low access to safe water and sanitation.
The report also noted among others that globally, women and girls spend 200 million hours collecting water every day.
UNICEF further said that the impact of climate change on water sources is not inevitable, UNICEF says. The report concludes with a series of recommendations that can help curb the impact of climate change on the lives of children.
For UNICEF Executive Director, Mr. Anthony Lake, such measures should include governments need to plan for changes in water availability and demand in the coming years; Above all, it means prioritizing the most vulnerable children’s access to safe water above other water needs to maximize social and health outcomes.
Climate risks, he said, should be integrated into all water and sanitation-related policies and services, and investments should to target high-risk populations; Stressing that businesses need to work with communities to prevent contamination and depletion of safe water sources.
Lake equally charged communities to explore ways to diversify water sources and to increase their capacity to store water safely.
“In a changing climate, we must change the way we work to reach those who are most vulnerable. One of the most effective ways we can do that is safeguarding their access to safe water,” Lake said.