Children in South Asia ‘at risk’ due to world’s ‘worst’ water shortage: UNICEF

This file photo shows a farmer posing in his parched field.  - AFP/File
This file photo shows a farmer posing in his parched field. – AFP/File
  • 739 million children worldwide facing water scarcity: UNICEF.
  • The agency estimates that another 35 million children will be at risk by 2050.
  • UNICEF director says climate change is affecting children’s mental health.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that children living in South Asian countries are at risk due to increasing water scarcity in the region.

According to the UN agency’s report “The Climate Changed Child”, the most affected children live in South, Southeast Asia, Central Asia and some sub-Saharan countries.

This revelation is worrying, because South Asia, with its eight countries, is one of the regions most affected by climate change and is home to a quarter of the world’s children.

According to the agency, 739 million children worldwide face “high or very high” water stress – a composite measure of baseline water stress, seasonal variability, inter-annual variability, groundwater level declines and drought risk. Is detected through.

A high UNICEF Children Climate Risk Index indicates an increased risk of risks associated with water scarcity.

The report also notes that 436 million children face “extreme water vulnerability”, classified as the double burden of high or very high water scarcity.

Extreme water vulnerability is a major contributor to deaths of children under five due to “preventable diseases”.

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell described the adverse impacts of climate change as “devastating” for children, saying the phenomenon particularly affects children’s physical and mental health.

Meanwhile, UNICEF South Asia chief Sanjay Wijesekera has also admitted that millions of children in the region are facing shortage of drinking water.

Describing investment in safe drinking water and sanitation services as “the first line of defense to protect children from the impacts of climate change”, the report further warns that 35 million children will be vulnerable to “high or very high water stress levels”. – The ratio of total water demand to available surface and groundwater supplies by 2050 in the South Asia, Middle East and North Africa regions.

UNICEF at COP28 called on world leaders to include children in the Global Stocktake (GST) and “to include children and climate resilient essential services within the final decision on the Global Adaptation Goals (GGAs).”

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