2.1 billion people lack safe drinking water

13 Juillet, 2017, 13:22 | Author: Claudine Rigal
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In numbers, the report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said nearly three in ten people worldwide, or 2.1 billion, lack access to safe, readily available water at home, and six in ten, or 4.5 billion, lack safely managed sanitation.

A newly released report of the United Nations agencies has warned that billions of people around the world lack safe water and proper sanitation facilities.

"Safe water, sanitation and hygiene at home should not be a privilege of only those who are rich or live in urban centres", says WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Moreover, 844 million do not have access to a basic drinking water service.

"As a result, every year, 361,000 children under five years of age die due to diarrhoea".

This first global assessment of "safely managed" drinking water and sanitation services also indicated that 263 million people still have to spend over 30 minutes per trip collecting water from sources outside the home, and 159 million still drink untreated water from surface water sources, such as streams or lakes.

"These are some of the most basic requirements for human health, and all countries have a responsibility to ensure that everyone can access them".

In countries experiencing conflict or unrest, children are 4 times less likely to use basic water services, and 2 times less likely to use basic sanitation services than children in other countries.

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A statement by the global health agency on Wednesday said three in 10 people worldwide lack access to safe water and six in 10 lack safe sanitation.

The UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, also said safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene are critical to the health of every child and every community - and thus are essential to building stronger, healthier, and more equitable societies.

The report includes estimates for 96 countries on safely managed drinking water and 84 countries on safely managed sanitation.

Backed by the data, the two United Nations agencies also warned that in as many as 90 countries around the world progress towards basic sanitation is too slow, "meaning they will not reach universal coverage by 2030".

"As we improve these services in the most disadvantaged communities and for the most disadvantaged children today, we give them a fairer chance at a better tomorrow", said Mr. Lake. Open defecation is practiced by more than 890 million people, mainly in rural areas, who have no toilet or latrine. "And, as we know, good hygiene is one of the simplest and most effective ways to stop the spread of disease".

The joint report by the World Health Organization and U.N. Children's Fund finds people living in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia are most at risk of disease and death from poor water and sanitation-related sources.

"The one figure I would kind of like to emphasize here is that in sub-Saharan Africa, 15 percent of the population only has access to a hand-washing facility with soap and water", he said.

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