Date Published: 22 March 2007
UNICEF highlights water scarcity on World Water Day
UNICEF Executive Director, Ann M. Veneman, today helped kick-off the Walk for Water Event in New York City to mark World Water Day and show support for the millions of women and children around the world who lack access to safe water.
“ Access to clean drinking water is critical for the health of children around the world,” said Veneman at the event organized by Starbucks Coffee Company and Ethos ™ Water.
“ In many parts of the world women and children walk long distances to fetch water for their families for drinking, washing and cooking,” said Veneman.
Water scarcity is the theme of this year’s World Water Day. An estimated 425 million children under the age of 18 continue to face water shortages. Women and girls are often tasked with fetching water, putting extra pressure on their well being and leaving many girls out of school.
An estimated 1.2 billion people have gained access to safe water since 1990. Yet, every year, unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation contribute to the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of five as a result of diarrhoea.
Population growth means added demand for water, while natural and human made disasters contaminate water supplies and damage water facilities. UNICEF works around the world to improve access to safe water and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and to promote better hygiene practices.
In December, 1992, the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March of each year World Water Day. This year, Starbucks Coffee Company and Ethos ™ Water have organized Walk for Water events in 19 cities throughout the United States to raise awareness of the World Water Crisis.