"Major gaps in water and sanitation" persist warns UN

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Two year old Amina gets water to drink from her grandmother. Jebel Saiey, North Darfur. UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran

Global efforts to provide improved water and sanitation for all people are gaining momentum, but serious gaps in funding continue to hamper progress, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The biennial Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water report presents data from 94 countries.

It shows that two billion people around the world have gained access to improved drinking water sources between 1990 and 2012.

In the same period, the number of children who died of diarrhoea which is associated with the lack of safe water and sanitation more than halved to 600,000.

But, Maria Neira, a public health expert at WHO, says serious challenges remain.

"The concerns we are having are related to the fact that in many countries there is still a lack of access to safe water and sanitation particularly in schools and health care facilities. This is something that we are concerned about and I think it represents a major importance of investments going to those important settings. Particularly we want to reduce the spread of diseases." (24")

The report shows that although international aid for the sector has increased, national funding needs continue to outweigh available resources.

Eighty per cent of countries reported that current levels of financing are insufficient to meet their targets for drinking-water and sanitation.

Stephanie Castro, United Nations

Duration:  1’28″


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