Today, March 22 is World Water day. This day, back in 1992, the UN called for the initiative to bring awareness of the 884 million people on our globe who don’t have access to clean, life giving water. Here are the stats:
– 3.575 million people die each year from water related disease.
– The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims though guns.
– Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.
In just one day, more than 200 million hours of women’s time is consumed for the most basic of human needs – collecting water for domestic use.
Clean water along with hygiene training and sanitation can reduce disease by up to 50%. Of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living, 90% are children under five years old.
Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. The UN predicts that one tenth of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply and sanitation.
Many children around the world spend their days collecting water for their families or home sick with a water-related illness instead of going to school. With safe water nearby, they can earn an education and build the future of their communities.
Women are twice as likely to walk for water than men. The time spent walking and the resulting diseases from contaminated sources keep them from getting an education, earning a much-needed extra income and taking care of their families.
When a community receives a water project, they can often use the new water source to plant small gardens near their homes and secure their own food supply. Self-sufficient households are less affected by external conflict, famine or inadequate government services.
In Africa alone, the overall economic loss due to lack of safe water and sanitation is $28 billion. Every $1 invested in improved water access and sanitation can yield $12 in economic returns, depending on the project.
What can we do? There are a number of steps that we can take in order to see these preventable numbers of tragedy reduced. The first step is to get aware. Now that you are aware you can take the next step. The next step is to ask Jesus for His heart. This happens through prayer and time, time reading and putting yourself in the place of the 884 million on our planet who have no access to safe, life giving water. The next step is to act. We need all of these steps in order to see change.
How can you act? You can act in a number of way’s. You can throw a birthday party and rais money for wells. You can give up your one day’ wage. You can do a seminar to learn more about how to help. You can also just flood the web, friends in boxes, write a blog, tell a story, go on a mission trip, share in your youth group, or do anything.
Today is Water day, what step are you going to take to bring change?
Photo by Johnny Koster