World Water Day UN seeks attention on impact of urban growth

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Kuala Lampur: A total of 880 million people around the globe do not have access to clean water, while 2.7 billion lack proper sanitation facilities, the Red Cross said on March 22. Climate change, rapid unplanned urbanization and migration are increasingly having a negative effect on the poorest communities in the world, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in Kuala Lumpur.

The society estimated that 2.7 billion people, including 980 million children, currently lacked access to proper sanitation facilities.

According to the IFRC, 50 percent of all hospital beds in the developing world are occupied by patients suffering the consequences of unsafe water and sanitation.  Across Africa and Asia, “women walk an average of six kilometers every day just to collect water,” the statement said.

The IFRC society called on all countries to contribute to its Global Water and Sanitation Initiative, which aims to reach seven million people with vital programs before 2015.  This year’s World Water Day, coordinated by the UN Environment Program, is dedicated to the theme of water quality.

World Water Day calls for international attention on the impact of rapid urban growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems.

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