One year after the U.N. General Assembly “adopted a resolution declaring that safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right,” top U.N. officials on Wednesday “stressed the need to realize the human right to water and sanitation, stating that it is critical not only to a life of dignity but also to achieving progress in the areas such as poverty reduction, boosting child health and combating diseases,” the U.N. News Centre reports (7/27). Nearly 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water, and more than one million children die each year because of diseases such as cholera that are transmitted by contaminated water, Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C notes (Krafczyk, 7/27).
Water and Sanitation
“Even now, eight years after our civil war ended, Liberia faces a huge uphill battle,” Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf writes in a Washington Post opinion piece, adding that “[w]ith support from the United States, we have been able to make progress. â€¦ It is critical that this aid continues in next year’s budget.”
UNICEF and non-governmental organizations “operating in West Africa say the main barrier to more pit latrines in rural areas is not poverty or lack of resources, but a lack of understanding about costs and benefits,” IRIN reports. “Plan International, WaterAid and UNICEF programs all encourage communities to recognize the need for better sanitation, and to build latrines themselves,” the news service writes, adding, “Building and using latrines is one of the most effective ways to combat diarrhea, which kills 1.5 million under-five children globally each year.”
“The government in Pakistan’s eastern province of Punjab is struggling to control a growing dengue fever epidemic, officials say,” and they “have warned that it threatens to affect other parts of the country,” BBC News reports. “Punjab Health Secretary Jehanzeb Khan said that this year more than 4,000 cases of dengue fever had been reported, a significant increase over previous years,” and at least eight people have died of the disease, according to the news service. Officials “say that the illness is thriving because of poor hygiene, an absence of control measures and the fact that recent heavy monsoon rainfall has lowered temperatures and provided lots of water — ideal conditions for dengue-carrying mosquitoes,” the news service writes (Khan, 9/13).
“Twenty years after the central government collapsed,” Somalia is facing drought, food insecurity and conflict larger in scale than when famine conditions hit the nation in the 1990s, “[a]nd given the world’s limited interest in a major intervention, that is not likely to change anytime soon,” the New York Times reports in a news analysis on the situation.
Central African Republic Health Minister Jean-Michel Mandaba on Friday declared a new outbreak of cholera in the south of the country had already killed at least 10 people, Agence France-Presse reports. “Mandaba also urged the country’s ‘bilateral and multilateral partners’ to provide financial and technical aid,” the news agency writes. Health officials two months ago warned of a possible outbreak because of cases in nearby countries, according to the news agency (10/1).
“Aid groups are urging donors to invest in water and sanitation in areas known as hotbeds for cholera,” saying “while such projects might directly affect a relatively small population, the indirect impact in terms of cholera reduction could be immense,” IRIN reports. “The call comes as [non-governmental organizations (NGOs)], donors,…
“Poor sanitation is causing hundreds of thousands of deaths a year in Africa, where 600 million people — about 70 percent of the population — do not have a safe toilet,” and that number is up from 210 million in 1990 and continues to increase as the population grows and…
In “the first [post] in the series ‘WASH & Women’s Health,’ which WASH Advocates is coordinating for the Maternal Health Task Force blog,” Rebecca Fishman, director of operations and special projects at WASH Advocates, writes, “The blog series will be published ahead of International Women’s Day (March 8), World Water Day (March 22), and…
EU Authorizes $11M In Humanitarian Aid For Zimbabwe; Prime Minister To Meet With Members of Congress Next Week
The E.U. on Tuesday authorized $11 million in humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe, VOA News reports.