Preventing child deaths caused by
dirty water & inadequate sanitation
"It is hard to think of a more potent reason to redouble our efforts
than the thought of more than 1.5 million children every year who will not
live to see their fifth birthday." Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director,
"... reaching the underserved with low-cost, basic levels of service for
drinking water and sanitation by the year 2015 will cost $11.3
billion a year." 2
As of 2006-NOV-12, the war in Iraq has cost
$341.7 billion. 3
Share International Media Service reported on 2006-NOV-11:
UNICEF's "Progress for Children No. 5: a Report Card on Water and
Sanitation," urges the international community to stop the death of 4,000
children daily from unclean water.
Dirty water kills 4,000 children every day. Over 1 billion people have no access
to safe drinking water – a basic necessity for human life – and about 2.6
billion do not have access to improved sanitation. These are the findings of a
Report Card released by UNICEF in September 2006. Polluted water and lack of
basic sanitation claim the lives of over 1.5 million children every year, mostly
from water-borne diseases.
In the 33-page report, UNICEF presents the dire facts and urges the
international community to recommit to achieving the Millennium Goals, one of
which is to halve by 2015 "the proportion of people without sustainable access
to safe drinking water."
"Despite commendable progress," says UNICEF executive director Ann Veneman, "an
estimated 425 million children under 18 still do not have access to an improved
water supply, and over 980 million do not have access to adequate sanitation."
She said those who die are by no means the only children affected. "Many
millions more have their development disrupted and their health undermined by
diarrheal or water-related diseases."
"We cannot be satisfied with current performance," Veneman said. "And we cannot
afford to lose the opportunity presented by the Millennium Agenda to transform
the lives of the most vulnerable children."
She said the international community lacked both sufficient resources and
resolve to meet the UN goals – "and it is hard to think of a more potent reason
to redouble our efforts than the thought of more than 1.5 million children every
year who will not live to see their fifth birthday."
The UNICEF Report Card on Water and Sanitation states that unsafe drinking
water, meager sources of water for hygiene, and poor sanitation play a role in
causing the deaths of more than 1.5 million of the 1.9 million children under
five who perish from diarrhea each year – that is, more than 4,000 children
dying every day as a result of diarrheal diseases.
Excerpts from UNICEF's "Progress for Children No. 5" report: 4
"Water and sanitation are vital in themselves, but they are also key
prerequisites for reducing child and maternal mortality ... and combating
diseases ... And they are key to reducing child undernutrition ... and
achieving universal primary education. ... Girls, especially, are likely to
spend more time in school when they spend less time fetching water and when
adequate sanitation facilities are available on school grounds."
"Four developing regions – Middle East/North Africa, South Asia, East
Asia/Pacific and Latin America/Caribbean – are on track to halve the
proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015.
West/Central Africa, Eastern/Southern Africa and CEE/CIS will need to step
up progress to meet the target."
"Women and girls bear more of the consequences of poor water, sanitation
and hygiene, as they are usually the ones who fetch the water and care for
the children and other household members who fall sick from water-related
diseases. In addition, girls’ school attendance is affected the most by
inadequate water and sanitation facilities in schools and by time spent
traveling long distances to drinking-water sources."
"The world is on track to meet the target on reducing the proportion of
people without sustainable access to safe drinking water – though it is
struggling to keep pace with population growth and ever-accelerating
"The target on sanitation will plainly not be met unless progress is
greatly accelerated, and if it is not, 2.4 billion people will be without
access to basic sanitation in 2015."
"On both targets, sub-Saharan Africa is lagging far behind the progress
needed; in relation to sanitation, South Asia still has a very long road to
travel, despite more than doubling its provision between 1990 and 2004."
"WHO and UNICEF have estimated that reaching the underserved with
low-cost, basic levels of service for drinking water and sanitation by the
year 2015 will cost $11.3 billion a year. And more than 80 per cent of the
total resources will be needed in Asia and Africa."
"Progress for Children: A report card on water and sanitation, Number 5,
September 2005," UNICEF, Page 3, at:
http://www.unicef.org/ This is a PDF file. You may require software to read it. Software can be obtained free from: