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Over 57% of Ethiopians have safe drinking water: UNICEF

over three-quarters of a billion people worldwide still lack access to safe drinking water

Source : AA / 22 Mar 2014

Over 57 percent of Ethiopia's population has access to safe drinking water, the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) said Friday, while noting that improved sanitation in the Horn of Africa country was not enough.

In a statement, UNICEF said more than half of Ethiopian households (54 percent) had access to improved sources of drinking water, compared to 35 percent in 2005 and only 25 percent in 2000.

"However, the country is lagging behind on sanitation targets," UNICEF added.

"While the Millennium Development Goal target for access to improved sanitation facilities is 51 percent, only 8.3 percent of the population has access to improved sanitation," it noted.

"Children in school are especially vulnerable as the National Water Sanitation and Hygiene Inventory data shows that only 33 percent of schools have improved sanitation facilities for students and teachers, and only 31 percent have access to water,"UNICEF asserted.

According to the statement, issued on the occasion of World Water Day, over three-quarters of a billion people worldwide still lack access to safe drinking water.

"A staggering 768 million people do not have access to safe drinking water, causing hundreds of thousands of children to sicken and die each year. Most of the people without access are poor and live in remote rural areas or urban slums,"the children's fund said.

"UNICEF estimates that 1400 children under five die today from causes linked to sanitation and hygiene," it added.

World Water Day is held every year on March 22. The day was first observed in 1993, when the United Nations General Assembly declared the day an internationally-recognized"World Day" for water.

The U.N. and its member states devote the day to implementing U.N. recommendations and promoting activities related to the world's water resources.

The theme of this year's World Water Day is "Water and Energy."


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