Dirty water 'kills 1.5m
More than 1.5m children under five die each year because they
lack access to safe water and proper sanitation, says the United
Nations children's agency. In a report, Unicef says that despite some successes, a billion
people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water from
protected sources.More than 1.2 billion people have gained access to safe water
since 1990.But sub-Saharan Africa remains a major area of concern,
especially countries affected by conflict.
A Unicef deputy-director, Vanessa Tobin, gave the example of
Niger, where only 13% of the population has access to toilets of an
acceptable standard, or better.
The number of poor people in Africa increased in
the past decade by a third, while falling in India and China.
Over 300 million people lack access to clean water and 450 million
have inadequate sanitation. And nearly one African child in six
dies before the age of five. Increased foreign aid is needed to
tackle these problems.
The UN hopes to halve the number of people without access to
clean drinking water and sanitation by 2015. But progress has slowed due to population increases and
unexpectedly high migration to urban areas, say the World Health
Organisation and Unicef. The Unicef report says that children's education suffers because
they have to walk long distances to fetch water, and that girls
especially are deterred by the lack of separate and clean toilets in
schools. Diarrhoea-related diseases in young children could be cut by more
than a third in young children by improving sanitation facilities,
Education and livelihoods
million school days are lost each year due to water-related
more girls attend school when sanitation is available. (DFID)
billion working hours are spent carrying water each year in
Africa. (Cosgrove and Rijsberman 1998)
rural Africa spend an average of 26% of their time fetching
water, and it is generally women who are burdened with the