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Flood: 1.5m Nigerian children at risk, says UNICEF

Flood: 1.5m Nigerian children at risk, says UNICEF
October 22
14:37 2022

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says more than 1.5 million children are at risk as Nigeria battles severe flooding. 

In a statement on Friday, the UN agency said out of the 2.5 million people in Nigeria who need humanitarian assistance — 60 percent are children.

UNICEF said the children are at high risk of waterborne diseases, malnutrition and drowning due to the recent floods.

“The floods, which have affected 34 out of the 36 states in the country, have displaced 1.3 million people. Over 600 people have lost their lives, and over 200,000 houses have either been partially or fully damaged,” the statement reads.

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“Cases of diarrhoea and water-borne diseases, respiratory infection, and skin diseases have already been on the rise.

“In the north-eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe alone, a total of 7,485 cases of cholera and 319 associated deaths were reported as of 12 October.

“As rains are expected to continue for several weeks, humanitarian needs are also expected to rise.

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“Immediate priority needs for children include health, water, sanitation, and hygiene; as well as shelter and food. Additional funding and resources are required to respond to growing needs and to sustain ongoing humanitarian interventions, with a focus on the most vulnerable, including children with disabilities.

“To date, UNICEF has supported the government response in three affected States – Jigawa, Niger, and Kaduna, including through the provision of cash assistance, distribution of cholera kits, government-led mobile health teams, temporary learning centres and learning kits and cholera kits.

“With additional support, UNICEF can scale up its response in other states to provide lifesaving medical equipment and essential medicines, chlorination of water and sanitation supplies, as well as to support the prevention of and response to sexual and gender-based violence.”

Cristian Munduate, the UNICEF representative in Nigeria, said the agency is working to provide life-saving assistance to those who need it the most.

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“Children and adolescents in flood-affected areas are in an extremely vulnerable situation,” Munduate was quoted as saying.

“They are particularly at risk of waterborne diseases and emotional and psychological distress. UNICEF is working closely with the government and other partners to provide life-saving assistance to those who are most in need.”

In 2021, UNICEF ranked Nigeria as the second-highest-risk country where children are susceptible to the impact of climate change.

A report by TheCable also documented how climate change is affecting child education in the country.

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This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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