Proper Handwashing Facilities Still a Rarity in Poorer Countries

2117bce10b2a9c8ce5efed206a478ec4
Oct. 15, 2015 –  Diarrheal diseases are one of the leading causes of child deaths globally, responsible for an estimated 2.2. million deaths annually, more than from Malaria, HIV and Aids, and measles combined yet most homes in poorer countries lack handwashing facilities with soap and water.

Proper handwashing is key to reducing diarrheal diseases but according to a joint report from the World Health Organization and UNICEF less than 10 percent of homes in many low-income countries do not have soap and water.

The report, released ahead of World Handwashing Day, which is marked on Oct. 15th, showed that 1 percent of the population in Liberia, 2 percent in Rwanda and 3 percent in Malawi have a facility at home with soap and water.

The report was compiled from household surveys and analyzed results from 54 low and middle-income countries, mostly in Asia and Africa.

In Afghanistan, 39 percent of homes have a facility with soap and water while in Pakistan, the figure is 54 percent.

Of the African countries surveyed, Tunisia, 78 percent, and Namibia, 47 percent, had the highest rates of homes with soap and water facilities.

Other countries with low rates include Haiti, 22 percent, Central African Republic, 14 percent, Uganda, 8 percent and Sierra Leone, 7 percent.

Only 14 Countries Have Contributed to U.N. Humanitarian Appeal for Syria

image
Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos speaks with a young Syrian refugee living in a school in Zahera, Damascus in this Aug. 14 photo (credit: UN)

Sept. 4, 2013 – Less than 10 percent of U.N. members states have stumped up funds to assist the 2.5 million Syrians that the United Nations says are in need of assistance.

An appeal launched on June 5 called for $180 million to assist what was then 1.5 million Syrians inside the country needing aid (the corresponding figure for Syrians in neighboring countries needing assistance was 83,000 – it’s now 225,000).

Donations to the humanitarian action plan for Syria currently stand at $95 million.

Figures released by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on Tuesday show that only 14 of the 193 U.N. member states have contributed to the $180 million appeal.

The largest tranche has come from the U.N.’s own emergency relief fund, CERF, which has released almost US$26 million to the Syria appeal.

The top donor country is the United States, $24 million, followed by the U.K, $8.6 million, and Canada, $5.5 million, (the European Commission has donated $9.3 million).

Kuwait is the only one of the wealthy Arab Gulf countries to contribute to the June appeal, donating $250,000.

A full donor list is here.

- Denis Fitzgerald

(Note: The U.N. has received funds from some 30 countries totaling $200 million for all of its various appeals for Syria since the beginning of 2012)