News

    World Meets Clean Water Goal Ahead of Time

    A farmer carrying water collected from a nearly dried-up well climbs a stairs at a village in Xiping county, Yunnan province, February 22, 2012.
    A farmer carrying water collected from a nearly dried-up well climbs a stairs at a village in Xiping county, Yunnan province, February 22, 2012.
    Lisa Schlein

    The world has reached the Millennium Development Goal of cutting by half the number of people without access to safe drinking water, five years ahead of the 2015 deadline. A report by the U.N. Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization says 89 percent of the world’s population, or more than six billion people, now use improved drinking water sources. 

    The United Nations reports most people in the world now have access to safe drinking water. It says between 1990 and 2010, more than two billion people gained access to piped water supplies, protected wells and other improved drinking sources.

    That is the good news. The bad news, the U.N. says, is that at least 11 percent of the world’s population, or a staggering 783 million people, still are without access to safe drinking water.  

    And it says efforts to provide sanitation facilities for billions of poor people are lagging woefully behind. The U.N. says the Millennium Development Goal of providing improved sanitation access to 75 percent of the world’s population by 2015 will not be reached.

    By telephone from New York, UNICEF's chief of water, sanitation, and hygiene, Sanjay Wijesekera, says the glass is both half full and half empty.

    “More than 3,000 children die every day from diarrheal diseases and it is the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa," said Wijesekera. "And…that is due to lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and poor hygiene. So, drinking water and sanitation, apart from being basic human rights, are also a matter of life and death to millions of children around the world.”  

    The report highlights that immense challenges remain. It notes there are huge disparities between regions and countries, and within countries. It says over 40 percent of all people globally who lack access to drinking water live in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Robert Bos is coordinator of the World Health Organization's water, sanitation, hygiene and health unit. He says the poorest people, those who live in remote areas and are hardest to reach, are left out, and that people in countries hit by conflicts or humanitarian crises suffer most from the lack of safe drinking water.  

    Bos says funds are essential to make progress, but it is more difficult to get governments to support humanitarian projects in times of financial difficulty. He says he is pleased to see countries continuing to fund safe water projects despite the current global economic crisis.

    “Of course, in the analysis of how this money is being spent, we see that there is a lot of money still going to large infrastructural projects," said Bos. "So, people who are in rural areas where basic needs are to be met are still missing out a lot. We also see that there is a lack of overall support for operation and maintenance, and that is very important for the sustainability part of the achievements that we made.”  

    The U.N. report notes it is not just the large middle-income countries that have improved water and sanitation for their people. It says some of the poorest countries in the world, which started off at a very low base, have also achieved amazing results.  

    For example, it says since 1995, Malawi has provided safe drinking water to half of its population, which is now approaching 15 million. Burkina Faso, it says, has achieved similar results.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.