UNICEF Says 78m Children At Risk Of Water-Related Crisis In Nigeria 

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As world leaders get ready to attend the historic UN Water Conference, Dr. Jane Bevan, the Chief of WASH for UNICEF Nigeria has hinted that a triple threat of water-related crises is endangering the lives of 78 million children in Nigeria.

She requested urgent action to alleviate the water issue in Nigeria when world leaders and pertinent organizations gather for the UN 2023 Water Conference.

According to a recent UNICEF research, 78 million children in Nigeria are most at risk from the convergence of three water-related threats: insufficient water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); associated diseases; and climate dangers.

In Nigeria, one-third of children do not have access to at least basic water at home, and two-thirds do not have basic sanitation services.

Hand hygiene is also limited, with three-quarters of children unable to wash their hands due to lack of water and soap at home. As a result, Nigeria is one of the 10 countries that carry the heaviest burden of child deaths from diseases caused by inadequate WASH, such as diarrhoeal diseases.

Nigeria also ranks second out of 163 countries globally with the highest risk of exposure to climate and environmental threats. Groundwater levels are also dropping, requiring some communities to dig wells twice as deep as just a decade ago. At the same time, rainfall has become more erratic and intense, leading to floods that contaminate scarce water supplies.

“I believe we need to rapidly scale up investment in the sector, including from global climate financing, strengthen climate resilience in the WASH sector and communities, increase effective and accountable systems, coordination, and capacities to provide water and sanitation services and implement the UN-Water SDG6 Global Acceleration Framework.

“If we continue at the current pace, it will take 16 years to achieve access to safe water for all in Nigeria. We cannot wait that long, and the time to move quickly is now. Investing in climate-resilient water, sanitation, and hygiene services is not only a matter of protecting children’s health today but also ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

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