Baghdad, 19 March 2019 – Ahead of World Water Day on Friday 22 March, UNICEF thanks the Government of Australia for their generous donation of US$6.1 million to support the provision of water and sanitation services for vulnerable children in southern Iraq.
Years of conflict, mass displacement, climate change and underinvestment in water networks have created a water crisis that is affecting large parts of the country.
“The needs of children in the southern governorates cannot be overstated. There is an urgent need for both immediate and long-term investment in critical water and sanitation services, particularly in the worst affected governorates of Basra, Thi-Qar and Diwaniya,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF’s Representative in Iraq.
“The Australian Government is pleased to be partnering with UNICEF in providing safe drinking water to the most vulnerable communities and to prevent children becoming sick from preventable waterborne diseases,” said Dr Joanne Loundes, Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Iraq.
Australia’s generous contribution will enable UNICEF to work with the southern Governorates to provide access to sufficient and safe water services to 3.8 million children over the next two years. It will improve access to water in health centers and schools for 1.7 million families, as well as strengthening the government’s capacity for integrated water resource management in four governorates.
Note for editors:
- In 2018 UNICEF installed five water pumps at Basra’s most important water treatment plant and conducted ‘quick fix’ rehabilitation in four key water treatment facilities to ensure water quantity increased for up to 750,000 people.
- Educational messages on safe water and the importance of water conservation were also disseminated to more than 50,000 children in the areas worst affected by the water scarcity.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.