ORBIA supports UNICEF to reach 450,000 children and family members with access to clean water and soap

Orbia donates US$500,000 to install UNICEF handwashing stations in vulnerable schools and communities and help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic

21 May 2020

MEXICO CITY/PANAMA, May 21, 2020 – Orbia, a global leader in specialty products and innovative solutions for building and infrastructure, precision agriculture, healthcare delivery and data communications, is supporting UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 pandemic to expand efforts to keep children and their families safe from infection.

Orbia is donating UD$450,000 and US$55,000 in essential supplies, including water tanks and pipes manufactured by Orbia, to address the urgent needs of 450,000 people in areas such as schools, health centers, childcare facilities and other high-traffic public spaces. The contribution will enable the installation of handwashing stations in areas of greatest need including in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Peru and South Africa.

Handwashing with soap and water, when done correctly, is crucial to preventing the spread of novel coronavirus disease, but only three out of five people globally have basic handwashing facilities.

“As a global company working to advance life around the world, it's incumbent upon us to step up in times of need,” said Daniel Martínez-Valle, CEO of Orbia. “Safe handwashing is a vital step in preventing the spread of novel coronavirus and other diseases. We are proud to support UNICEF to supply critical handwashing facilities to help protect our most vulnerable populations so that our communities can thrive today and tomorrow.”

Approximately 40 percent of the world’s population (three billion people) do not have a handwashing facility with soap and water at home, rising to 75 percent in the least developed countries, with an estimated 900 million children lacking these facilities at school; and around one in six healthcare centers have no hygiene service or vital handwashing stations where patients receive care.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, over 50 million people, including children and adolescents, do not have access to basic handwashing facilities with soap and water at home, with 25 million people having no facility at all.

“COVID-19 puts vulnerable groups more at risk of getting infected by the pandemic simply because they are not able to wash their hands,” said Bernt Aasen, UNICEF Regional Director in Latin America and the Caribbean. “More than ever, every child and family in Latin America and the Caribbean should have access to safe drinking water and soap, but it is not the case. Everyone can contribute, including the private sector, and here is where Orbia’s generous contribution plays such a critical role.”

Handwashing is crucial in protecting children and their families against many other potentially lethal diseases – including diarrhea, which is the largest cause of death for children under five. With a greater strain on health services due to the pandemic, preventing disease is crucial. During a health crisis, children are among the most severely impacted, facing loss of primary care, separation from sick caregivers, risk of psychological distress, disruption of education and a heightened risk of exploitation, violence and abuse, with those living in poverty facing even greater hardship.

Media Contacts

Dara Cothran
KWT Global for Orbia
Manuel Moreno González
Regional Communication Specialist
UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean
Tel: +507 3017449
Tel: +507 67279884

Orbia (BMV: ORBIA)  is a community of businesses united by a shared purpose: to advance life around the world. The businesses that make up Orbia have a collective focus on ensuring food security, reducing water scarcity, reinventing the future of cities and homes, connecting communities to data infrastructure and expanding access to health and wellness with advanced materials. Orbia operates in the Precision Agriculture, Building and Infrastructure, Fluor, Polymer Solutions and Data Communication sectors. The company has commercial activities in more than 100 countries and operations in 44, with global headquarters in Mexico City, Boston, Amsterdam and Tel Aviv. To learn more, please visit orbia.com.

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/lac.

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