More children die from water than from bullet

23 Mars, 2019, 06:53 | Auteur: Therese Cote
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Many of them are out-of-reach, in remote areas still impacted by conflict.

Research by "Water Under Fire" looked at mortality rates in 16 countries going through prolonged conflicts and findings revealed that, in majority, children under the age of five are more than 20 times more likely to die from diarrhea-related deaths linked to lack of access to safe water and sanitation than direct violence.

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. When they are forced to use unsafe or contaminated water, they risk contracting deadly diseases.

UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore stated that the odds were already stacked against children living through prolonged conflicts with many unable to reach a safe water source. Women, children, refugees, and disabled people sometimes face discrimination when they try to access water. For avocadoes, the figure is nearly 2,000 litres per kg.* Cotton soaks up a lot of water, particularly when grown and produced in India, where it has a water footprint of 22,500 litres per kg, compared with about 8,100 litres if it comes from the United States.* Some 2.3 billion people, or one in every three people, did not have even a basic sanitation service in 2015, of which 892 million people still practiced open defecation. "It is a necessity for life".

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.

"Water Under Fire" looks at mortality rates in 16 countries going through prolonged conflicts and finds that, in a lot 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.

Megan Wilson-Jones, a senior policy analyst for health and hygiene at the charity WaterAid, said: "The findings of the report are tragic".

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You can contribute to the cause in many ways.

"Ensuring good water, sanitation and hygiene is essential to the health of children in every setting, including as part of humanitarian emergency responses".

Arnott suggested the event is a sobering chance for those who have water as a readily available resource to take stock.

March 22 is World Water Day - a day about tackling the global water crisis in households, schools, workplaces and farms.

If we want to "leave no one behind" then we need to focus our efforts towards incorporating people who have been ignored or marginalized. Tea, by contrast, uses a far smaller 34 litres per cup.* Rice accounts for 40 percent of irrigation worldwide and 17 per cent of global groundwater depletion, with an average water footprint of 2,500 litres per kilogramme. The world can not grow and prosper if there are people without access to safe water.

If you find anyone wasting water just ask him or her to stop it. Discovering this will help you care more about this precious resource.

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