The el Niño reports: Water, health and sanitation
As we’ve reported over the past few weeks, the effects that severe droughts are having on communities around the world are impacting heavily on children’s lives. As families struggle to earn a living as their crops perish and children are unable to go to school, the most concerning impact is on children’s health.
Clean water is scarce as village springs dry up, and people are turning to ponds and dirty rivers instead of taking the long trek to better water sources. Plan International is working in many communities to supply clean water and water purification kits, but much more is needed.
Ma Thein Nu’s village was severely hit by Cyclone Komen in Myanmar. “We are not sure if we’ll have clean water for the rest of the year, we have to drink muddy water, which gives us diarrhoea.”
The lack of clean water is felt across the home, with no water to clean dishes, or decent toilet facilities, children are also unable to wash their hands.
After months of scare resources and ill health more and more children are showing signs of malnutrition. Mothers have no milk left in their breasts to feed their babies and older children don’t have enough to eat either.
Alfia, a health worker in Ethiopia says, “In the past week alone I’ve identified 18 children and 32 mothers as severely malnourished, this number will rise as time goes one. Droughts are causing diseases that are threatening the lives of already weak youngsters.”
Plan International works within the villages affected by el niño and has opened medical centres that bring healthcare into the communities and implement programmes against malnutrition.
On 17th June, Day Against Desertification and Drought, please raise awareness of this unreported disaster.
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