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UNICEF: 26.5m Nigerian children don’t have enough water to meet daily needs

UNICEF: 26.5m Nigerian children don’t have enough water to meet daily needs
March 22
14:23 2021

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says no fewer than 26.5 million Nigerian children do not have enough water to meet their daily needs.

In a statement to mark the 2021 World Water Day, UNICEF said over 1.42 billion people, including 450 million children, live in regions of high water vulnerability globally.

Peter Hawkins, Nigeria representative, UNICEF, said the communities living in these regions rely on surface water, water collection of more than 30 minutes, and unimproved sources of water.

“The world’s water crisis is not coming – it is here, and children are its biggest victims,” he said.

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“When wells dry up, children are the ones missing school to fetch water. When droughts diminish food supplies, children suffer from malnutrition and stunting.

“When floods hit, children fall ill from waterborne illnesses. And when water is not available in Nigerian communities, children cannot wash their hands to fight off diseases.”

According to UNICEF statistics, children in over 80 countries live in areas of poor water sources but Eastern and Southern Africa have the highest proportion.

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The data shows that West and Central Africa have 31 percent, South Asia has 25 percent, and the Middle East has 23 percent.

Hawkins said more work needs to be done to enable Nigerians have access to adequate and hygienic water.

He said: “The problem is compounded by poor drinking water quality and lack of equity in access. Although about 70 percent of Nigerians are reported to have access to basic water services, more than half of these water sources are contaminated.

“And although 73 percent of the country’s population have access to a water source, only nine litres of water on average is available to a Nigerian daily.

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“At the current rate, the country will miss the SDG targets on people’s access to water, unless there are a strong commitment and appropriate action taken by all stakeholders.

“We have to act now both to address the water crisis in Nigeria to prevent it from getting worse and if we want to meet the SDGs.

“We can only achieve water security for every Nigerian, including the Nigerian child through innovation, investment and collaboration, and by ensuring services are sustainable and well-managed, We must act for the sake of our children and our planet.”

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