Return to listing
International Year of Sanitation
Access to clean, potable water is essential for survival, but today nearly two billion people lack access to safe water or basic sanitation. Many living with unsanitary water sources for their everyday needs, such as drinking, cooking and bathing, develop life threatening diseases including dysentery, cholera and parasites.
March 22, is World Water Day; a day designated by the United Nations for implementing recommendations and promoting activities dedicated to providing sustainable access to clean water around the world. This year’s theme is the International Year of Sanitation, highlighting the critical role of proper sanitation for maintaining a healthy, clean water supply. According to the United Nations, spending $10 billion a year would enable the world to reach a 2015 goal of improved sanitation in developing countries with significant impact, such as reducing poverty and improving health.
AmeriCares supports clean water and sanitation initiatives as well as helps to get clean drinking water to those in need immediately following a natural disaster or crisis. Below are examples of how AmeriCares has improved the lives of those in despair with the gift of water.
In times of crisis and emergency within the US, AmeriCares is grateful to have partner Nestlé Waters to team up with. Together, we are able to ensure that people affected by a disaster have immediate access to clean bottled water.
In February 2008, tornadoes and violent storms ripped through parts of the mid-South causing more than 65 casualties and leaving hundreds homeless throughout five states. As part of our immediate response, AmeriCares worked with Nestlé Waters and delivered several truck loads of bottled water to stock relief shelters in the devastated areas.
Last May, we delivered much-needed water to those affected by the severe tornado that struck and virtually destroyed the town of Greensburg, Kansas. AmeriCares and Nestlé Waters arranged for two truckloads of bottled water to be delivered to local partners in the area, who distributed the 76,000 bottles.In 2005, when hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast, AmeriCares and Nestlé Waters were ready, and delivered 10 truckloads of bottled water to the affected residents. These storms completely destroyed clean water and sanitation capabilities in the regions hit, thus creating dangerous and desperate conditions for survivors.In order to more effectively reach those in need following crises similar to these, AmeriCares and Nestlé Waters created a one million water bottle reserve for rapid distribution in regions throughout the United States susceptible to natural disasters.
Bantul, Indonesia was one of the hardest hit regions of the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Yogyakarta and Central Java in May 2006. The quake caused the water wells of the Sanan community to dry up, compromising the water system that the residents relied on for clean water.
AmeriCares has been working with local partners to address the problem in Bantul and this past December held an inaugural ceremony, as AmeriCares clean water initiative came to a close. AmeriCares grant of $97,500 funded the project, which involved the construction of a new water system and the installation of seven water tanks to store clean water. Today, nearly 1,500 residents have access to clean, potable drinking water. “I don’t need to walk three kilometers down the hill to get water anymore,” said one villager, aged 65. “I can spend my day doing other things.”