In a changing climate, we must change the way we work to reach those who are most vulnerable. As per findings of UNICEF, by 2040 some 600 million children or 1 in 4 children worldwide will live in areas with extremely limited water resources.
This report was released on World Water Day to emphasize on the threats to children’s lives and well being caused by depleted sources of safe water. Also, the ways climate change will exaggerate these threats in coming years.
Millions of children lack access to safe water, endangering their lives, undermining their health and jeopardizing their futures.
Around 36 countries are witnessing extremely high levels of water stress. The quality and availability of water as well as sanitation systems are most influenced by warm temperatures, rising sea levels, increased floods, droughts and melting of ice. In addition, industrialization and urbanization are draining water resources globally.
Together these factors push children to have unsafe water, which exposes them to deadly diseases like cholera and diarrhoea. Up to 663 million people worldwide do not have access to adequate water sources and 946 million people practice open defecation.
The report concludes with a series of suggestions that can help control the impact of climate change on the lives of children. Such measures include:
Firstly, governments need to plan for changes in water availability and demand in the coming years. Climate risks should be incorporated into all water and sanitation-related policies and services. Organizations need to work with communities to prevent contamination and depletion of safe water sources. Lastly, communities themselves should explore ways to diversify water sources and increase their capacity to store water safely.
Image Credit: todayonline.com