The water crisis does not discriminate! The people who experience the burdens of life without adequate sanitation systems are of every gender and age group. However, childhood is the crucial age of development, meaning that children who suffer the effects of the water crisis, experience health issues which are long-lasting and often permanent.
Here are the facts!
Lack of clean water and poor sanitation means that EVERY DAY more than 800 children die from diarrhoea. These conditions cause 156 million children under the age of five to experience stunted growth leading to irreversible mental and physical damage. In Karachi, Pakistan, the population is 18 million making it a megacity. However, this statistic is rocked by the estimated 30,000 people who die every year due to unsafe water. 20,000 of these people are children. In addition to this, diarrhoea caused by a lack of clean water in rural Pakistan, is responsible for 21.6% of infant mortality.
In Africa, the conditions are no different. In fact, the majority of the two million people who die every year, due to water-borne diarrhoeal diseases are under the age of five. It is even estimated by the World Bank that water-borne diseases kill more African children under the age of five than HIV/AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
In addition to the health risks children face due to poor sanitation and water scarcity, these issues also prevent children, particularly girls, from attending school, as they are expected to help their mothers in water retrieval. This results in an absenteeism which equates to 10-20% of girls who have reached puberty. If only these communities had real investments in sanitation facilities and drinking water, then 272 million more school attendance days would be created.
The statistics are astounding! They prove the extent to which the water crisis effects innocent children everyday.
A child’s immune system does not fully develop until the age of five meaning that these children are more vulnerable to the risks posed by unsafe water. Consequently, there is a high rate of infant mortality within communities where sanitation systems are undeveloped. These children are unable to fight off diseases which are prevalent due to the only water they have access to. Water is vital to maintain our survival, yet it is water that is killing children.
Water scarcity strips these children of their childhoods and forces them to face challenges that not even adults should have to face. No one can choose where they are born, yet many are suffering because they are born in locations that face water scarcity and a lack of sanitation systems.
We need to give these children a better start in life.
Help a child by donating today or contact us if you want to get involved.
By: Yasemin Mustafa