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Drought UNICEF appeals for $1m funding for Sri Lanka

UNICEF representative Tim Sutton said Sri Lanka was currently in the midst of its worst drought in 40 years.

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The UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday appealed for one million dollars in funding to support Sri Lanka during the country’s worst drought.

UNICEF representative Tim Sutton said Sri Lanka was currently in the midst of its worst drought in 40 years.

Sutton said with over 1.2 million people, including 365,232 children were directly affected and in need of humanitarian assistance.

A report released by UNICEF on World Water Day said that 36 countries across the globe were currently facing extremely high levels of water stress.

According to UNICEF, extremely high levels of water stress normally occur when demand for water far exceeds the renewable supply available.

The report said warmer temperatures, rising sea levels, increased floods, droughts and melting ice affect the quality and availability of water as well as sanitation systems.

UNICEF said whilst Sri Lanka was not listed among the 36 countries facing extremely high levels of water stress, Sri Lanka and its children were already experiencing the impact of climate change.

The agency added that it was cycle with climate related disasters resulting in dire consequences for the most vulnerable.

“We know that water emergencies not only endanger lives and limit the availability of safe water essential for health and life."

“But have multiple knock-on effects such as destroying crops, increasing farmer indebtedness and driving food insecurity."

“These drastically impact children, especially the most vulnerable."

“We must take collective action to respond to the ongoing drought, and to ensure that Sri Lanka is ready and prepared for future water challenges, so that children’s futures are not jeopardized,’’ Sutton added.

He further said UNICEF was working with the Sri Lankan government and partners to address the immediate water needs of 365,323 children affected by the drought.

He added that UNICEF was also to build increased resilience in water supply services, to ensure the most vulnerable are protected from the worst impacts of climate change in Sri Lanka.

“We are calling on our donors to support this vital work,’’ Sutton said. 

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