Main Navigation


Clean water would save millions of lives

Today is World Water Day. Australian Red Cross provides access to water and sanitation in 64 countries.

Thursday March 22, 2012

-
Red Cross is aiming to improve water, sanitation and hygiene outcomes for 15 million people by 2015.

Improved access to clean water and sanitation would unlock huge opportunities in public health, education and economic growth and would act as a game changer for millions of people around the world, according to Red Cross.

Red Cross Water and Sanitation Manager, Bob Handby, said with World Water Day today it is timely to consider that no single intervention has a greater overall impact on community development and public health than the provision of safe drinking water and the construction of toilets, especially when combined with simple hygiene messages.

"Where there is a lack of clean water, disease and economic hardship soon follows. Unsafe water and poor sanitation have claimed more lives worldwide over the past century than any other cause, including wars and natural disasters," said Mr Handby.

"Despite recent improvements in this area, there are still 780 million people without access to a safe water supply and 2.5 billion without basic sanitation. As a consequence, more than 8,000 children die every day due to water, sanitation and hygiene related diseases and millions more are at risk."

The recently completed Pole to Pole run by Pat Farmer helped build awareness on the importance of water and sanitation and raised funds for Red Cross projects, including a project to bring fresh water to children in the town of Com, East Timor.

"In East Timor, we have been working with the local Red Cross society to bring clean drinking water to several remote villages and build local capabilities in maintaining water and sanitation systems," said Mr Handby.

"Recently in the town of Com on the eastern tip of the country, local volunteers working with the support of Australian Red Cross connected the school to a fresh water supply for the first time, eliminating the need for children to walk two miles every day to access drinking water."

Globally, Red Cross provides access to water and sanitation in 64 countries and the organisation is aiming to improve water, sanitation and hygiene outcomes for 15 million people by 2015.

"In our own region, many communities still live without running water or access to functioning toilets. We have programs in a number of countries to address water and sanitation issues, including East Timor, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia," said Mr Handby.

Find out more about Red Cross international programs or to make a donation.

For more information, please contact James Molan on 0448 571 484.

Share