Lack of safe water drives global crisis : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Lack of safe water drives global crisis WebPosted Fri Nov 24 14:35:23 2000

RIO DE JANEIRO - The World Health Organization (WHO) is making a new push to save hundreds of thousands of people each year, just by making sure everyone around the world has clean drinking water.

According to a new report presented at a United Nations conference in Brazil, 1.1 billion people live without a daily supply of fresh water. Two and a half times as many don't have proper sanitation.

Most of them live in Africa and Asia.

The Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 says universal access to clean water could be achieved for $10 billion a year.

"That's less than what Europe spends on ice cream each year and less than a tenth what Europe spends on alcoholic drinks," said Richard Jolly of the World Health Organization.

"So it's not a problem of cost," he added. "It's a question of political priority."

The organization is calling for improved access to sanitation and clean water by 2015. This would require providing water for 292,000 people and sanitation facilities to 397,000 people every day for the next 15 years.

In improving those services, WHO hopes to cut the annual number of people who die from water-borne diseases, such as diarrhea and intestinal worms.

Every year, 2.2 million people die of diarrhea out of the four billion cases reported and most of the deaths are children under five years old.

The report calculated that as the equivalent to one child dying every 15 seconds or 20 jumbo jets crashing every day.

-- Martin Thompson (, November 25, 2000

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