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A thirsting world

· One in eight people lives without access to safe drinking water ·

One of out every eight people in the world lives without access to safe drinking water, a problem affecting 748 million of the world’s population. Meanwhile, 2.5 billion are without essential sanitation services due to wars and natural disasters. The data was released in a new Oxfam report which reveals that in Syria and Iraq alone, more than twenty million people are without water and food, and with no prospect of improvement. 

The international organization, which raises awareness about human rights, paints a dramatic picture. In addition to those in Syria and Iraq, the main victims of this water emergency are women and children affected by wars that have for years devastated countries such as Yemen and South Sudan. Additionally, attacks by the militant group Boko Haram have forced nine million people to flee the area around the Lake Chad Basin, including Nigeria, Niger and Chad. The effects of natural disasters, which are on the rise due to climate change, must be added to the wars, many of which are forgotten conflicts. Natural catastrophes have levied a particularly heavy toll on already poverty-stricken nations such as Haiti and Sudan. Oxfam sources in these crisis zones say prompt action must be taken to ensure clean water, sanitation and health services and shelter for the suffering populations. These basic necessities, they stress, can “make the difference between life and death for whole families who are often forced to leave everything behind and start from scratch in another country”. “To date”, Oxfam reports, “we have reached more than 13.7 million people in the most serious emergencies of the planet, but we can and must do more”. 

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Jan. 19, 2017

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