Lack of safe drinking water poses the risk of serious humanitarian disaster

Old Blog Import

The sudden collapse of a population’s water supply is the most serious of humanitarian emergencies. People affected by a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or a flood, are more likely to fall ill and die from diseases related to inadequate water and sanitation than from any other single cause. And the effects are seen very quickly.

…Inevitably, the most vulnerable are affected first and suffer the most. That includes children under five, the elderly, the sick and the malnourished. In a city such as Basra, where health standards were already poor before the hostilities, that will be a very high proportion of the population.

With daytime temperatures soaring to more than 100F (38C), people have to drink. If clean water is not available they will drink whatever they can. And, again, the position in Basra – where there is virtually no safe alternative to the public water supply for the poorest people – is particularly serious.

From the Independent UK.

Senator Robert Byrd:

Yet this chamber is hauntingly silent. On what is possibly the eve of horrific infliction of death and destruction on the population of the nation of Iraq — a population, I might add, of which over 50% is under age 15 — this chamber is silent.

In case you didn’t put 2 and 2 together — children under 5 are most at risk when there is no clean water, and over 50% of Iraq is under the age of 15 …