Clean water is the wellspring of children’s future

UNICEF, the UN’s organisation for the rights and emergency relief of children, has published shocking facts to draw attention to the severe impact of lack of access to clean, safe drinking water on children. It is increasingly accepted that the effects of climate change are first felt through the world’s waters in the form of droughts, floods and heavy storms. When these disasters hit, they can wipe out entire water supplies or leave them contaminated, risking the lives of millions of children.

Photo: Lukas Maverick Greyson,

Almost 60 million children live in areas which already have low levels of access to water and are at risk of drought or flood.

At times of drought, many families can’t afford to migrate and must rely on contaminated water supplies. Nearly 160 million children live in areas at high risk of drought.


Over 300 million children live their lives in areas at a high risk of flooding, where about half the population survives on less than USD 3.10 (HUF 850-900). Floodwaters can contaminate water supplies, causing widespread disease and exacerbating poverty.

Without clean water, children are at a risk of many diseases. The most prevalent one is diarrhoea, which kills about 800 children every day. That is the main reason why it is very important that they should have access to water from a safe source and that basic sanitation and hygiene should be improved.


Improving equitable access to water sources that are resistant to climate change and renewable will help protect the most vulnerable, i.e. children before, during and after climate disasters.

UNICEF launched their #ClimateChain campaign on World Water Day. They asked people to take photos of themselves with their arms outspread, presenting the environments they wish to protect. The virtual human chain composed of the photos sent in from all over the world were presented to the UN General Assembly on 22 April, Earth Day, when the Paris Agreement on climate change was opened for signature. At the same time, children wearing T-shirts which said “Your promise, our future” formed a real human chain in the General Assembly hall, reminding world leaders to make responsible, good decisions that take the interests of children into account.

Source: UNICEF-blog