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On World Toilet Day UNICEF reminds that personal hygiene in emergencies is key to prevent diseases

© UNICEF / Ukraine / 2014 / A.Krepkikh
In the facility for internally displaced children. Proper sanitation is essential for children’s health in emergency.

KYIV, 19 November 2014 – As the world observes World Toilet Day, the lack of water, sanitation and hygiene caused by armed conflict in eastern Ukraine continues to put health of children and families in danger. In the context of current crisis, UNICEF reminds that the simple act of hand washing with soap is one of the most effective ways to save children’s lives.

“Washing hands before eating and after defecation drastically reduces the spread of diarrhea diseases and has far reaching effects on the health of children and communities”, - said UNICEF Ukraine Representative Giovanna Barberis.

The ongoing fighting in the region has severely disrupted water supply systems resulting in up to 250,000 people in Luhansk oblast and one million people in Donetsk oblast being without proper access to water. The water supply continues to be unreliable with some parts of the region not having access to water and others serviced by water trucking. Although local authorities are constantly repairing the water supply system, the disruption continues to be a major threat. Some functioning water supplies do not have chlorine for disinfection.

Greater susceptibility to water-related diseases makes children and women especially vulnerable. With a shortage of water supply, personal hygiene issues are likely to pose significant risk to the health and well being of children. Diarrhea remains the second largest cause of under-five mortality globally. With 600,000 children dying in each year and over 1.7 billion cases. However, one of the simplest and most inexpensive barriers to infection is hand washing with soap.

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About UNICEF: UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org.ua . Join us on Twitter, Facebook and ВКонтакте

 

 
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