More children killed by unsafe water than bullets - UNICEF

Source: UN Children's Fund
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Children living in protracted conflicts are three times more likely to die from diarrhoeal diseases caused by a lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene than by direct violence.
Children living in protracted conflicts are three times more likely to die from water-related diseases than from violence – UNICEF

NEW YORK, 22 March 2019 – Children under the age of 15 living in countries affected by protracted conflict are, on average, almost three times more likely to die from diarrhoeal diseases caused by a lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene than by direct violence, UNICEF said in a new report today.

Water Under Fire looks at mortality rates in 16 countries going through prolonged conflicts and finds that, in most of them, children under the age of five are more than 20 times more likely to die from diarrheal-related deaths linked to lack of access to safe water and sanitation than direct violence.

“The odds are already stacked against children living through prolonged conflicts – with many unable to reach a safe water source,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “The reality is that there are more children who die from lack of access to safe water than by bullets."

Without safe and effective water, sanitation and hygiene services, children are at risk of malnutrition and preventable diseases including diarrhoea, typhoid, cholera and polio. Girls are particularly affected: They are vulnerable to sexual violence as they collect water or venture out to use latrines. They deal with affronts to their dignity as they bathe and manage menstrual hygiene. And they miss classes during menstruation if their schools have no suitable water and sanitation facilities.

These threats are exacerbated during conflict when deliberate and indiscriminate attacks destroy infrastructure, injure personnel and cut off the power that keeps water, sanitation and hygiene systems running. Armed conflict also limits access to essential repair equipment and consumables such as fuel or chlorine – which can be depleted, rationed, diverted or blocked from delivery. Far too often, essential services are deliberately denied.

“Deliberate attacks on water and sanitation are attacks on vulnerable children,” said Fore. “Water is a basic right. It is a necessity for life.”

UNICEF works in conflict countries to provide safe drinking water and adequate sanitation services through improving and repairing water systems, trucking water, setting up latrines and promoting awareness of hygiene practices.

UNICEF is calling on governments and partners to:

  • Stop attacks on water and sanitation infrastructure and personnel;
  • Link life-saving humanitarian responses to the development of sustainable water and sanitation systems for all;
  • Reinforce governments and aid agencies’ capacity to consistently provide high-quality water and sanitation services in emergencies.

Notes to Editors:

The report calculated mortality rates in 16 countries with protracted conflict: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen. In all these countries, with the exception of Libya, Iraq and Syria, children 15 and younger are more likely to die from water-related diseases than as a result of collective violence. Excluding Syria and Libya, children under the age of five are almost 20 times more likely to die from diarrheal-disease linked to unsafe WASH than due as a result of collective violence.

The estimates were derived from WHO mortality estimates for ‘collective violence’ and ‘diarrheal deaths attributable to unsafe WASH’ between 2014 – 2016.

Multimedia materials available here: https://weshare.unicef.org/Package/2AMZIF3HHUU0

About UNICEF
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org.

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For more information, please contact:
Joe English, UNICEF New York, Tel: + 1 917-893-0692 jenglish@unicef.org


End of 2018 review

2018 has been a busy year for HLA. It started early in 2018, with the launch of a brand new website, and the introduction of paid individual and corporate membership subscriptions. These enable us to cover both operating and modest engagement costs.

We expanded the Board to include the trustee role of Director/Chief Technology Officer, welcoming Isaac Kwamy who has supported the consolidation of our IT capabilities, together with Steve o’Rourke our web developer. After five very valuable and transformational years on the Board, Adrian Nance stepped down from his role as Director/CFO in March, having recruited his replacement Sujit Jadhav, as well as our first bookkeeper Leanne Palmer (our first core funded team member).

At the start of the year we said farewell to our VolinHA volunteer Alexandra Vasila. Based on her HLA experience, she was hired by the International Medical Corps for a logistics role in Nigeria. In October, Monireh Shishvan joined HLA as volunteer marketing and communications executive, based from her home in Tehran. Moni brings considerable experience from the private sector and UN assignments. We also thank our long-standing volunteer Farshid Raminfar, who continues to provide excellent and invaluable service managing our social media channels.

We have outlined our key achievements in this useful infographic:

 

2019 promises to be another busy year. On our agenda is:

  • The hosting of the PARCEL project/local partner logistics training information and materials
  • Launching a new HLA Advisory Group (HAG)
  • A collaborative project to develop a humanitarian logistics companion guide to the Sphere Standards (the foundation for our Body of Knowledge)
  • Implementation of a fund-raising strategy
  • Development and implementation of a new business plan
  • Annual General Assembly (in Asia or Africa)
  • Further strengthening of the HLA Board

We wish all our members and contacts a peaceful holiday season and a successful 2019, both professionally and personally!