In crisis situations, such as civil conflicts, war or natural disasters, children are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of dirty water. Diarrhoeal diseases due to unsanitary water conditions claim the lives of around 2 million children per year. In addition, water-borne diseases are one of the major cases of under-five child mortality.
Because children often suffer the most from dirty water in emergencies, UNICEF remains committed to ensuring that safe water and adequate sanitation is provided within 72 hours of the start of an emergency.
With natural disaster and civil strife occuring more and more frequently, World Water Day 2004 serves as a reminder to local communities across the globe of the importance of having clean and available water supplies before disaster strikes.
“The best way to head off the effect of an emergency is to empower local communities to cater for their water supplies and for goverments to make investments that will ensure water and sanitation security even during the toughest times,” says UNICEF’s Executive Director Carol Bellamy.