Water crisis dangerous than violence in war-zones

Water crisis dangerous than violence in war-zones

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Water crisis and conflict

With increasing global warming and depletion of groundwater, water situation continues to be the world’s biggest crises. Water shortage is believed to be one of the key reasons of ‘third world war’ if it ever happens. Not only a stress for adults, but also it’s a threat to children and to their future too. Children are the worst sufferers nowadays at water sources in vulnerable counties around the world. Water points have become a danger zone for children, say report.

Continuous physical attacks at water and sanitation facilities in conflict-suffered nations have become threat to lives of millions of children, United Nations Children’s Fund recently warned in a report. Children’s access to water was endangered in almost every conflict-linked emergency where UNICEF responded, the agency writes in Water Under Fire Volume 3. The UNCEF report took into consideration nine countries facing frequent violence and conflict, with impact on children.

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Attack on water, attack on children

There nine countries are Central African Republic, Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen. Further, as per the agency’s estimation, nearly 48 million children are not getting safe water and sanitation services in the said countries. The protection of safe water and sanitation services is critical in the survival of millions of children. In conflict-driven countries, diarrhoeal diseases cause under-five child mortality 20 times more than what violence causes.

In the view of the report, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes Manuel Fontaine said, access to water is a means of survival, not to be used as a war tactic. Attacks on water and sanitation facilities are attacks on children, he further said. He also explained how water scarcity accounts for extensive spread of diseases like cholera and diarrhoea. In absence of proper hospitals and medications, this increases rates of malnutrition and wasting among children.

Violent attacks at water infrastructures

As families and children are forced to go out in search of water, they, especially girls, are easily exposed to risen harm and violence. Furthermore, the UN report catalogues astounding number and nature of recent attacks made at water infrastructures. Here are some eye-opening instances of conflicts in water-starving nations. In Eastern Ukraine, roughly 3.2 million people are living without water and sanitation services. They had to face nearly 380 attacks since 2017.

Palestine’s 1.6 million people have left without access to these basic facilities. This was after they faced nearly 95 attacks at their 142 water and sanitation services since 2019. Nonetheless, Yemen’s water facilities have seen around 122 airstrikes during the six-year war and conflict. Every week, thousands of children are getting ill from cholera epidemic. Roughly 15.4 million people now don’t have safe water and sanitation services. Evidently, situation in other conflict-driven nations is no better.

Water crisis and conflict: Protect children

The UNICEF has asked parties to conflict to immediately end attacks on water and sanitation infrastructures and workers. They must fulfill their obligations to safeguard children in conflict. The agency also urged the UN Member States to step up urgent actions to hold these attackers to account. Also, donor nations must invest in water and sanitation of conflict-related countries. And it urged public to make voice to protect water and sanitation infrastructures and personnel.

Earlier in February 2020, speaking on the occasion of International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers, UN Secretary-General António Guterres had urged the world to put more efforts to protect children from armed conflict. Focusing the need to integrate child protection into peace processes, he said children have no role in conflict. Guterres pointed to devastating number of 250 million youth in conflict-linked counties facing “horrific abuses”, including sexual violation and abduction.

Water crisis and conflict: Threat to humanity

Unsafe water and sanitation crisis is getting bigger over the years. Earlier in mid 2019, a report of UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO) revealed, nearly 2.2 billion people globally did not have access to safe drinking water. According to the report, 4.2 billion people go without safe sanitation services, while 3 billion of population lacks basic hand-washing facilities. Later that year, the UN with partner agencies launched a fund to tackle the century-old sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health crisis.

How much bigger is the crisis of water can be clearly understood in the two-year old data published in the UN report. The countries that continue to be war-zones, water infrastructures become easy targets for perpetrators. Moreover, they attack there to ravage the lifeline of these fragile countries. Nevertheless, children become the worst affected part of human civilization in these conflict-driven regions. All the stakeholders must come together and take immediate actions to protect children and humanity from century-old crises.

water crisis and conflict, water crisis conflict and global warming, water crisis and water wars myths and realities, water crisis in war-torn countries, water peace and war confronting the global water crisis, water crisis leading to war and conflict, countries that have experienced water scarcity and conflict, water scarcity climate change and conflict in middle east and africa, water scarcity and its consequences, water crisis and conflict over water

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