UNICEF calls for more increase investments on availability of clean water

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has expressed concerns over the inadequate availability, accessibility and affordability of fresh water in the cities and stressed the need for increased investment to safe drinking water by stakeholders.

Juliet Chiluwe, chief of Field Office, UNICEF Enugu, raised the alarm in Enugu during a media briefing on 2023 World Water Day Celebration by UNICEF Enugu Field Office.

She called on the media as agenda setters to bring the issue of water crisis and challenges to the front burner.

“We count so much on the media as a critical partner to amplify the voice and advocating for the rights of children to ensure access to safe drinking water,” she said.

Read also: Peter Obi says attacks on voters heartbreaking

According to Chiluwe, in the Enugu Field Office the statistics to access safe water is quite low as it ranges between 13 percent and 46 percent.
Enugu Field office, she said, is covering over eight states of Abia, Anambra, Cross-River Ebonyi, Enugu, Kogi, Benue and Imo.

“So, the statistics is quite low and if you drill down a lot more to desegregate the data to certain institutions you will discover that it is more scaling when you are looking at access water in the health facilities, Educational institution it is a very big challenge when it comes to availability.

“In terms of availabilities, it is very low; we are not talking about raw water but water that is good for human consumption and protected from contamination.
“Our mandate as UNICEF is to make sure that our children lives; the current information indicates that 78 million Nigerians are at the highest risk of water-related diseases,” she said.
This, she said, makes infant mortality high because the children do not have basic access to water in the homes.
She emphasised that water should be made readily available for use for children because water affects nutrition, the growth and the health of every child.

The head of UNICEF Enugu Field Office also said that in the eight states under the field office, water accessibility is marginal and retrogressing.
“The more reason we are taking advantage of the world water day is to remind all of us to use your capacity to amplify the need and cry for our state institutions, partners to scale up in terms of investment for (Wash) water and sanitation facilities,” she said.

Also speaking, Doutimiye Kiakubu, WASH Specialist UNICEF Field Office Enugu said the commemoration of world water day was to create awareness about importance of water to life

“Availability of water for consumption is very low, so we must always advocate for equitable and just distribution of water resources,” he said.

He said that 2023 theme is “Valuing water” to highlight the importance of water to sustainable development, that every aspect of sustainable development you look at, water must be important.

“If you want to look at Healthcare, Nutrition access to safe water is important, Education, Urban infrastructure and everything about development you will discover that water play a very critical role so we are highlight the importance of water in achieving sustainable development and also advocating for equitable and just distribution of water resources,” he said.