Hold on to Peace - Image courtesy Ira Mitchell-Kirk

Hold on to Peace - Image courtesy Ira Mitchell-Kirk

Friday, 19 March 2010

Monday 22nd, World Water Day

This time a serious blog post about water. In wartime Cassino there was too much water, at times, leading to terrible problems with trench foot as men were in wet boots and clothing for months. There was frozen water, snow, and ice, and some died frozen in the trenches where they fought. And later there were bomb craters filled with water that supported the malaria mosquito. There were many times soldiers and civilians were also without water. A German veteran tells of the time that the fighting on Montecassino was so intense that they could not go back to the abbey to get their water supplies. Instead they drank from a puddle, only to find in the morning that there was a dead mule in the water they had been drinking.

Water is a resource that many of us take for granted. But water is a profitable and essential resource, and like all resources the equitable distribution of it is essential for world peace.

Today's newsletter from the International Medical Corps has some sobering figures:

This Monday, March 22, is World Water Day, a day to call attention to the scarcity of clean water and sanitation in the developing world.

Currently, 20% of people around the world lack access to safe water and an additional 5 million die each year from waterborne illnesses, such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea. That adds up to more than 6,000 people, mostly children, dying every day from preventable diseases.

We believe that clean, safe water, access to sanitation and knowledge of good hygiene practices are necessary components to public health and we’ve worked to include water and sanitation into our community development programs around the world. To learn more about these types of programs, as well as World Water Day, click below to watch our video:

World Water day 2010

In the wake of January’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are displaced from their homes and living in makeshift camps outside Port-au-Prince. The sanitary conditions in these encampments are abysmal, and the lack of access to clean water creates the potential for a second humanitarian crisis in Haiti. In order to prevent this type of tragedy, we deployed our water and sanitation expert to Haiti immediately after the earthquake.

Recently, International Medical Corps partnered with UNICEF to build latrines in camps in Petit-Goave, Carrefour and Boloisse, preventing harmful waste contamination. We are working with the Haitian government to promote good hygiene through public education efforts. We’ve also been educating local health workers on the importance of sanitation and teaching them how to recognize and treat symptoms of waterborne illnesses.

We believe that access to clean water is a right, not a luxury. We hope you recognize World Water Day this year and join us in the fight to prevent a global water crisis.

All the best,
International Medical Corps UK

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