Dirty water ‘more dangerous to children than violence’

A child carries a bottle filed with the water of the well in the popular district of Yopougon, where inhabitants lack of of drinking water, in Abidjan, on March 21, 2019 a day before the World Water Day celebrations. (AFP)
Updated 23 March 2019
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Dirty water ‘more dangerous to children than violence’

  • The UNICEF report noted a few exceptions, saying children under 15 in Iraq and Syria were more likely to die of violence, as were children under age 5 in Syria and Libya

NEW YORK: Children under age 15 are almost three times more likely to die from diseases due to lack of clean water and sanitation than from violence in countries in conflict, the United Nations’ children’s agency reported on Friday.
Most vulnerable are young children under age five, who are 20 times more likely to die from diseases than violence, said the report by UNICEF, released to coincide with World Water Day.
Specifically, children die of diarrhea-related illness, such as cholera, when conflict restricts access to clean water, it said.
The research looked at the health consequences of unsafe water and sanitation for children in 16 countries undergoing conflict, including Myanmar, Afghanistan and Yemen.
“In these conflicts — and other emergencies — providing rapid, comprehensive and safe water and sanitation is a matter of life and death,” said the report.
UNICEF reported 85,000 diarrheal deaths due to poor water, sanitation and hygiene in children from 2014 to 2016, compared with just under 31,000 deaths due to violence, citing World Health Organization (WHO) data.
“It isn’t surprising,” Tomas Jensen, adviser for tropical medicine at the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“They are often the ones at greatest risk, especially young children who haven’t built up immunity to bacteria that can cause diarrheal disease,” he said.
Diarrhea-related illness is the second leading cause of death for all children under 5, depleting body fluids and causing dehydration, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Particularly vulnerable to dehydration are children and infants, who lose fluids more quickly than adults and are less able to communicate their needs, experts say.
In conflict, journeying to a water source may carry the risk of being shot or sexually assaulted, the report said.
Water might become contaminated, its sources destroyed or residents may be denied access, it said.
In Yemen, a third of the cases were children under age 5, according to WHO.
The UNICEF report noted a few exceptions, saying children under 15 in Iraq and Syria were more likely to die of violence, as were children under age 5 in Syria and Libya.
Methods of warfare in those countries, such as aerial bombing of urban areas, land mines and unexploded ordnance put children at high risk, a UNICEF spokesman said.


British PM Theresa May resigns over Brexit failure

Updated 59 min 26 sec ago
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British PM Theresa May resigns over Brexit failure

  • She will resign as Conservative Party leader on June 7 with a leadership contest in the following week
  • She endured crises and humiliation in her effort to find a compromise Brexit deal that parliament could ratify

LONDON:  British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday she would quit, triggering a contest that will bring a new leader to power who is likely to push for a more decisive Brexit divorce deal.

May set out a timetable for her departure — she will resign as Conservative Party leader on June 7 with a leadership contest beginning the following week.

“I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist party on Friday, 7th June so that a successor can be chosen,” May said outside 10 Downing Street.

With her voice breaking up with emotion, May, who endured crises and humiliation in her effort to find a compromise Brexit deal that parliament could ratify, said she bore no ill will.

“I will shortly leave the job that has been the honor of my life to hold,” May said. “The second female prime minister, but certainly not the last.”

“I do so with no ill will but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love,” May said.

May, once a reluctant supporter of EU membership, who won the top job in the turmoil that followed the 2016 Brexit vote, steps down with her central pledges — to lead the United Kingdom out of the bloc and heal its divisions — unfulfilled.

May bequeaths a deeply divided country and a political elite that is deadlocked over how, when or whether to leave the EU. She said her successor would need to find a consensus in parliament on Brexit.

May’s departure will deepen the Brexit crisis as a new leader is likely to want a more decisive split, raising the chances of a confrontation with the European Union and a snap parliamentary election.

The leading contenders to succeed May all want a tougher divorce deal, although the EU has said it will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Treaty it sealed in November.

Meanwhile, the EU will not offer whoever takes over as British prime minister a better Brexit deal, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Friday.

“From my perspective, I don’t see the European Union offering any new prime minister a better or very different deal to what was on offer to Theresa May,” Coveney told Ireland’s Newstalk radio station after May on Friday said she would quit.

“This idea that a new prime minister will be a tougher negotiator and will put it up to the EU and get a much better deal for Britain? That’s not how the EU works.”