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UNICEF: Water scarcity in Iraq badly affects children

Iraqi children wait to be placed in refugee camps after escaping the violence in Mosul on 20 November 2016 [Feriq Fereç/Anadolu Agency]
Iraqi children on 20 November 2016 [Feriq Fereç/Anadolu Agency]

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Sunday warned of health risks for most Iraqi children as they have no access to safe and drinkable water, reports Anadolu Agency.

"Nearly 3 out of 5 children in Iraq have no access to safely managed water services," UNICEF said in a statement.

The UN agency said that less than half of all schools in the country have access to basic water.

"In Iraq, the level of water scarcity is alarming, children cannot develop and thrive to their full potential without water," said Sheema SenGupta, UNICEF Representative in Iraq. "It is time to take action on climate change and guarantee access to safe water for every child."

According to UNICEF, the 2020-2021 rainfall season in Iraq was the second driest in the last 40 years, a situation that caused severe reduction of water flow in Tigris and Euphrates by 29% and 73%, respectively.

Official Iraqi figures estimate the number of children under 14 years old at 16.2 million based on a recent census by the Iraqi Planning Ministry in January 2021.

Iraq depends on water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers which flow from Turkey and Iran, but in recent years, the water flow decreased in both rivers due to low rainfall.

READ: Iraq's Tigris and Euphrates water levels drop by 50%

International OrganisationsIraqMiddle EastNewsUNICEF
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