Over 180 Million People Lack Drinking Water in Conflict-Affected Countries

On 15 November, a young girl from Mosul takes water from a tap stand at a UNICEF-supported Temporary Learning Space in Hassan Sham Displacement Camp, Ninewa Governorate. "I like it here because we've been out of school for two years," she said. Photo: UNICEF
On 15 November, a young girl from Mosul takes water from a tap stand at a UNICEF-supported Temporary Learning Space in Hassan Sham Displacement Camp, Ninewa Governorate. “I like it here because we’ve been out of school for two years,” she said. Photo: UNICEF

More than 180 million people do not have access to basic drinking water in countries affected by conflict, violence and instability around the world, UNICEF warned Tuesday, as World Water Week gets under way.

“Children’s access to safe water and sanitation, especially in conflicts and emergencies, is a right, not a privilege,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, UNICEF’s global chief of water, sanitation and hygiene. ”In countries beset by violence, displacement, conflict and instability, children’s most basic means of survival – water – must be a priority.”

[ 2.1 Billion People Lack Safe Drinking Water at Home ]

People living in fragile situations are four times more likely to lack basic drinking water than populations in non-fragile situations, according to a recent UNICEF and World Health Organisation analysis. Of the estimated 484 million people living in fragile situations in 2015, 183 million lacked basic drinking water services.

In famine-threatened north-east Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, nearly 30 million people, including 14.6 million children, are in urgent need of safe water. More than 5 million children are estimated to be malnourished this year, with 1.4 million severely so.

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Rakesh Raman