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In Iraq, nearly half of the population lacks reliable access to safe drinking water. Years of war with Iran, the Gulf Wars, misallocation of resources under military dictatorship and the ongoing struggle for peace have all but destroyed Iraq’s water systems in many parts of the country.
Poor communities and displaced families in Iraq must resort to rivers, dirty tap water and other unsafe sources to find drinking water. As a result, dangerous water-borne disease outbreaks threaten thousands of lives each year.
Last year, hundreds of Iraqi children became seriously ill from a highly contagious strain of the measles – which causes blindness, pneumonia and even deadly brain infections. In 2007, over 30,000 people were stricken with cholera – an intestinal disease which can lead death from organ failure. Last year, thousands more contracted the infection.
The warm waters of late summer in Iraq create the perfect breeding ground for water-borne diseases. That’s why AmeriCares recently sent critical water purification supplies to our partners in Iraq – LIFE for Relief and Development.
One woman, Um Muhannad, was especially grateful for the water purification tablets. Her three-year-old daughter suffered terribly from the measles months earlier. The doctor told Mrs. Muhannad that her daughter’s disease was caused by drinking contaminated drinking water.
Unable to afford expensive sterilized water, she bought water purification tablets from a local drugstore. When those tablets ran out, she could not afford to buy any more. She was terribly frightened until she received a donation of a one month supply of water purification tablets – enough to get them through much of the difficult season.
“I’ll feel relieved for a month,” she said, “I don’t have to worry about how I will provide clean water for my children.”
LIFE and AmeriCares have partnered to deliver millions of dollars in medicines, medical supplies, and medical equipment across Iraq over the past decade.
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