The United Nations children’s agency has reported that about 27 million people in famine-hit countries of Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen have no access to safe drinking water.
“Nearly 27 million people in countries facing famine – Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen – do not have access to safe water, which can be as deadly to severely malnourished children as a lack of food, the UN children’s agency said on Wednesday,” says the report.
The UN added that more than 20 million people in these countries are at risk of dying in these countries due to the added disadvantage of the internal conflicts experienced in these countries.
The agency adds that the inability to access safe drinking water is just as bad as not having food. Having food without access to safe water is also dangerous as it increases the risk of sickness.
” … 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,” Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF director of emergency programmes, said.
“The combination of malnutrition, dirty water, and poor sanitation sets off a vicious cycle from which many children never recover,” Fontaine said in a statement.
He added that the UN was working to help the afflicted people in these countries, however, there are some hindrances caused in due part by the crisis being suffered in these countries. For instance, in the north-eastern region of Nigeria, jihadist group Boko Haram has terrorized residents in the area, while also destroying water facilities.
In Somalia and South Sudan, the added drought suffered by residents makes access to water minimal.
“We are working around the clock to save as many lives as we can as fast as we can,” Fontaine said.
“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.”