Poor access to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) by residents of Kebbi, Sokoto, and Zamfara states has been identified as a major reason the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) coughed out $9,978,800 to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The amount, as stated yesterday in Jalingo, Taraba State by UNICEF, is to support the Nigerian government’s initiative to improve WASH services in the three northwest states.
If well utilized, the fund is believed to go a long way to provide life-saving WASH services to more than 300,000 people in need.
Grateful for the aid, UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, said: “We are extremely grateful for the timely and much-needed WASH support from the United States Government.”
USAID Mission Director, Dr. Anne Patterson, said: “USAID is dedicated to ensuring clean water for more Nigerians. This new activity with UNICEF will help reduce water-borne diseases to keep more people, especially children, healthy.
At press time, Sokoto and Kebbi were reportedly at the lowest levels of access to basic water services in the country – at 38 and 39 percent respectively.
MÉDECINS Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) has said the rising violence in Zamfara is causing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and increasing cases of sexual violence in the state.
The international medical organization, therefore, called for an urgent humanitarian response for people in the region, who, it said, were desperately short of food, potable water, shelter, protection, and basic services, including healthcare.
In February 2021, there were more than 124,000 displaced people in Zamfara, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) – an increase of more than 12,000 since August 2020.
“Our teams in Zamfara have witnessed an alarming rise in preventable illnesses associated with lack of food, drinking water, shelter, and vaccinations,” said Dr. Godwin Emudanohwo of MSF.