Water Crisis: 78 million Nigerian Children at Risk – UNICEF 

 

 

  • Nigeria among 10 countries bearing heaviest burden of child deaths from diseases caused by inadequate WASH

 

By Gom Mirian

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for urgent actions to address the water crisis in Nigeria, saying 78 million Nigerian children are at the highest risk from a convergence of three water-related threats.

According to the new UNICEF analysis released in Abuja on Monday, the related threats include inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) also related diseases; and climate hazards.

The analysis also shows that one-third of children in Nigeria do not have access to at least basic water at home, and two-thirds do not have basic sanitation services.

It stated that hand hygiene is also limited, with three-quarters of children unable to wash their hands due to a 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.

The child rights organization in a statement by Dr. Jane Bevan, UNICEF Nigeria chief of WASH, further called for a rapidly scale-up investment in the sector, including global climate financing, to 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.

Dr. Bevan warned that if the country continues 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”, she said.

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