Colombo, March 21 (IANS) The UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) on Tuesday called for $1 million in funding to combat an ongoing drought in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is currently in the midst of its worst drought in 40 years, with over 1.2 million people, including 365,232 children, directly affected and in need of humanitarian assistance, the Unicef said in a report.

The report said that 36 countries across the globe were currently facing extremely high levels of water shortage, Xinhua news agency reported.

“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,” said Tim Sutton, Unicef Sri Lanka Representative.

“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 jeopardised,” Sutton added.

Sutton said Unicef was working in collaboration with the Sri Lankan government to address the immediate water needs of 365,323 children affected by the drought, and 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.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.