KHARTOUM/JUBA, SUDAN, 22 March, 2010 - UNICEF in Sudan is calling for improved access to safe drinking water across the country to mark international World Water Day on March 22, which will focus on water quality this year.
Most recent figures from the Sudan Household Health Survey 2006 show that about 40 per cent of the population does not have access to safe drinking water and more than two-thirds have no access to adequate sanitation.
“We need to continue investing in reaching everyone in Sudan with safe drinking water because safe drinking water could save the lives of thousands of children across the country every year,” said Nils Kastberg, UNICEF’s Representative in Sudan.
“Each year around 305,000 children die from preventable illnesses in Sudan and one of the big killers is diarrhea, which is caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. Correcting this will require a dramatic improvement in water quality and in awareness,” Mr Kastberg added.
In the north of Sudan, UNICEF is supporting the Public Water Corporation at federal level and the Water Corporation at state level to bring clean water and improved sanitation to thousands of Sudanese families every year.
In Southern Sudan, UNICEF works closely with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and at state level with the Rural Water Departments to provide clean water and sanitation.
Last year alone, UNICEF and partners were able to support the provision of new water supplies and re-establish supplies to over four million people across the country.
World Water Day (WWD) is an opportunity to explore solutions to water-related problems as well as to raise awareness and build capacities through information sharing. Throughout Sudan on WWD there will be a series of technical discussions about improved water quality at community level as well as discussions about how to promote sanitation.
“Water treatment at the household level, such as boiling, filtering or chlorinating, can make water safe for drinking, even if the water collected is unsafe. This will reduce deaths caused by diarrhea by one-third,” said Sampath Kumar, Chief of WASH in UNICEF.
Key events planned for World Water Day in Sudan by UNICEF, the Public Water Corporation and other partners, will include a street carnival in Port Sudan in Red Sea State, followed by a workshop on water quality and sanitation.
In Southern Sudan there will be a key meeting to share information and experience on a Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) clearing house aimed at establishing an effective modern and sustainable WASH information centre to provide access to reliable data.
There will also be other events held across the country to mark World Water Day.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For more information, please contact:
Valentina Rios, Officer-in-charge, Media & External Relations UNICEF Sudan,
Mobile + 249 (0) 912174640,
Douglas Armour, Manager, Communications and Advocacy, UNICEF Southern Sudan Area Programme, Juba, Sudan,
Mobile + (249) (0) 928 278 975; + (249) (0) 913 143 481
Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, Regional Chief, Communication, UNICEF Middle East and North Africa.
Mobile: + 962 (6) 550 2407,