The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday that Boko Haram terrorists have destroyed 75 per cent of the water infrastructure in the Northeast Nigeria.
UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes, Manuel Fontaine, also said that 3.8 million people in the northeast are currently threatened by lack of water.
“In northeast Nigeria, the fight on Boko Haram damaged or destroyed 75 per cent of water and sanitation infrastructure.
“Some 3.8 million people have no access to safe water,” the UNICEF official saint.
In famine-hit countries in Africa and the Middle East, unsafe water is as dangerous for severely malnourished children as lack of food, he said.
He warned that nearly 27 million people are at risk of safe water in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.
“Unsafe water can cause malnutrition or make it worse, no matter how much food a malnourished child eats, he or she will not get better if the water they are drinking is not safe,” he said.
The UN agency is warned that a combination of malnutrition, dirty water and poor sanitation sets off a vicious cycle from which many children never recovered.
In Somalia, about one-third of the population is expected to need access to water and sanitation in the coming weeks, according to UNICEF, pushing the current needs from 3.3 million to 4.5 million of people.
“Some 5.1 million people lack safe water, sanitation and hygiene in South Sudan, where half of the water points in the country have been damaged or destroyed.
“The fighting in Yemen has displaced at least 14.5 million people, leaving them without basic sanitation and adequate drinking water,” UNICEF warned.
According to the latest figures, almost two million children are at risk of diarrhea diseases which, even before the conflict, were the second leading cause of death among children under the age of five.
“UNICEF is working with other UN agencies, national authorities and local partners to provide safe water and sanitation to children.
“But without an end to the conflicts plaguing these countries, without sustainable and unimpeded access to the children in need of support and without more resources, even our best efforts will not be enough,” Fontaine said.