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Attacks on water-related humanitarian missions on the rise

Attacks on water
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Ground Report | New Delhi: Attacks on water; The United Nations Security Council has called on the international community to support and protect in all parts of the world the work of humanitarian aid agencies and medical personnel in conflict zones so that they can carry out their difficult and dangerous work where it is most needed.

In a ministerial session of the Security Council on Protection of Civilians and Preservation of Humanitarian Space, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, pointed out that security incidents affecting humanitarian organizations have increased tenfold since 2001, appearing in forms such as physical and sexual assaults, kidnappings and raids.

Mohammed stressed that so far this year and in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has registered 568 incidents that damaged health care services in 14 conflict zones, resulting in death. of 114 healthcare workers and patients. He explained that those attacks have included shootings, bombings, threats, removal of equipment, and militarization of medical facilities.

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Attacks on medical teams

In addition to the attacks on medical teams, other missions that also suffer increasing security incidents are those related to the supply of water to populations in conflict. A situation that seriously harms children, the most vulnerable group in these areas. According to a UNICEF report, attacks on humanitarian workers working to ensure access to clean water are ongoing. “Many have been attacked, injured or killed while repairing critical civil water infrastructure. Even the continual threats of an attack can deter maintenance or repair, leaving a community without clean water, ”explains the children’s organization.

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Clean water supply points and wells managed by humanitarian teams are also recurring sites of attacks in the event of a conflict.

Amina Mohammed highlights that in the five years that have elapsed since the Council resolution calling for an end to impunity for such attacks on humanitarian teams, health workers, and patients, there have been thousands of attacks.

“We are facing a terrible escalation of humanitarian crises in the world. Civilians in conflict zones are paying the highest price, “he warned, adding that it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide the humanitarian aid desperately needed by millions of people.

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Attacks on water

According to a report published by Unicef, water resources and water supply systems are attacked in the first instance in case of conflict. When a community’s water supply is cut off, children and families are forced to rely on unsafe water or to abandon their homes in search of a new source. Sometimes this may mean that families have to reduce or ration their water supplies, other times it means drinking water that is clearly contaminated and dangerous.

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For children, the consequences can be deadly, as diseases related to water and sanitation remain one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of five.

Attacks on water infrastructures and humanitarian personnel working to restore supplies are heinous crimes that should not go unpunished, since they impact the health, life, and dignity of millions of people who are prevented from accessing a right basic human: water.

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