The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has raised the alarm over shortage of water to about 2 billion people in the world. In a statement to mark Water Day by UNICEF’s representative in Nigeria, Mr. Peter Hawkins, said more than 1.42 billion people including 450million children are living in areas of high or extremely high water vulnerability.
The UNICEF said one in five children worldwide did not have enough water to meet their everyday needs. In Nigeria, Hawkins
said not less than 26.5million children, representing about 29 per cent were experiencing high or extremely high water vulnerability. Hawkins said: “The world’s water crisis is not coming – it is here, and children are its biggest victims. “When wells dry up, children are the ones missing school to fetch water.
When droughts diminish food supplies, children suffer from malnutrition and stunting. “When floods hit, children fall ill from waterborne illnesses. And when water is not available in Nigerian communities, children cannot wash their hands to fight off diseases.”
Hawkins said the UNICEF data had shown that children in more than 80 countries live in areas with high or extremely high water vulnerability.
He said Eastern and Southern Africa had the highest proportion of children living in such areas, with more than half of children – 58 per cent – facing difficulty accessing sufficient water every day. Meanwhile, attention of government at all levels in Nigeria has been drawn to unpleasant con
strikesequences that would spring up due to current poor strategies in evaluation of water resources for productive use as being perpetrated by those in the position of authorities. Water and Development expert, Micheal Ale at the weekend tasked the Federal Government on a more productive value of water for development in all ramifications.
The water expert, who doubles as Co-founder Global Initiative for Nigeria Development (GIND), yesterday in a press statement in Ado-Ekiti to commemorate this year World Water Day decried the poor value and under- utilization of water resources for development purposes in the country.
Ale said: “There are five different perspective of valuing water–Valuing water sources – natural water resources and ecosystems.
All water is generated by ecosystems. And all the water we abstract for human use eventually returns to the environment along with any contaminants we have added.
The water cycle is our most important ‘ecosystem service’. “Higher value must be given to protecting the environment to ensure a good quality water supply and build resilience to shocks such as flood and drought