Thousands of children die every day because they don't have access to safe water and toilets, and practise poor hygiene.

A third of the world's people still don't have access to basic, maintained facilities like covered toilets and safe water.

Every year, waterborne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid claim the lives of millions of children in the developing world. Water- and sanitation-related diseases are one of the biggest causes of under-five deaths around the world. Every day, around 5,000 children die from diarrhoea-related causes alone.

Poor sanitation, water and hygiene affect more than just children's health. Children – particularly girls – often miss out on education, because many schools lack proper toilets and handwashing facilities.

How Unicef helps

Unicef works in more than 190 countries around the world to keep children safe by providing better water supplies and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and by promoting safe hygiene practices like handwashing.

In emergencies we provide urgent relief to communities and countries threatened by disrupted water supplies and disease.

Unicef is a leading member of the Sanitation and Water for All global partnership and is a member of End Water Poverty.

Boys play in safe water being pumped through a hose © UNICEF/NYHQ2009-1894/Estey
Boys play in the safe water being pumped through a large hose at a school in Aceh Province on Sumatra Island. The school was severely damaged when the tsunami hit in December 2004.© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-1894/Estey