It is World Water Day and communities like Apata in Kogi State’s Igalamela-Odolu Local Government Area come to mind. 

Bounce News had visited the community and found a total lack of basic amenities  and top in the list is water.  

The government of the state had commissioned a borehole in the state, but for years, not a drop of water had come out of the taps. 

A power generating plant provided to energise the water pump, had developed a fault and has been under repair for months before Bounce News visited. 

This community is home to some of the 3.6 million Nigerians lacking access to potable water and sanitation, according to the United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF).

UNICEF’s  Representative in in Nigeria, Mr Mohamed Fall, gave the figure on Friday in a statement to commemorate World Water Day scheduled for March 22 with the 2019 theme: "Living no one behind”.

Fall identified 1.1 million as Internally Displaced  Persons (IDPs) as a result of violence and conflict, noting that many of them are out-of-reach in remote areas still impacted by conflict.

“About 800,000 people are in hard-to-reach areas and 79 per cent of these are children and women.

“In Nigeria, conflict has created huge challenges for people living in the Northeast of the country, where violence has affected their ability to access water and sanitation, leading to diseases such as cholera.

“In the North-east 5,365 people were affected by cholera, with 61 dying in 2017, while 12,643 people were affected in 2018 and 175 died of the disease,” Fall said.

UNICEF Executive Director, Ms Henrietta Fore, noted that children below the age of 15 in countries affected by protracted conflict on the average, are three times more likely to die from diarrhoea due to lack of access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities than as a result of direct violence.

Fore, who quoted UNICEF’s latest report entitled :“Water Under Fire”, said the odds were already stacked against children living through prolonged conflicts.

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“The odds are already stacked against children living through prolonged conflicts with many unable to reach a safe water source.

"The reality is that there are more children who die from lack of access to safe water than by bullets,” she said.

Fore said UNICEF had intensified efforts to scale-up life-saving responses, especially in IDP camps to ensure quality and sustainability of WASH services and facilities.

She further noted that the agency was also working to minimise the risk of WASH-related diseases and provide preventive measures against cholera and other water-borne diseases. 

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