On 3 May 2016, girls wash their hands with running water at the shelter for earthquake-affected people in Portfoviejo, Manabi.

Clean water
for every child

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Children die every day because they simply don’t have access to safe water and toilets

Water and sanitation-related diseases such as diarrhoea are one of the biggest causes of death for children under five around the world. Every day, more than 800 children die from preventable diseases caused by poor water, and a lack of sanitation and hygiene.

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 hand washing facilities. Others miss out because they have to spend their days making long journeys to collect clean water, rather than going to school.

Sulem, 9, carries the jerry can holding water to her home which is four km away from the borehole. Sulem says because it’s the school break season she can help her family with household chores particularly needed in this difficult drought affected season. Unicef/Somalia 2017/Ayene

Sulem, 9, has to walk 4 km from her home to collect water from a borehole.
Unicef/Somalia 2017/Ayene

Infographic icon: Water, sanitation and hygiene
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600 million children – or in 4 children worldwide – will be living in areas with extremely limited water resources by 2040

Read our latest report

We’re helping more children access safe water

Our water, sanitation and hygiene teams work in more than 100 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 hand washing.

Last year, with your support, we helped nearly 14 million people get access to clean water and we provided more than 11 million people with basic toilets.

In emergencies, we provide urgent relief to communities and countries whose water supplies have been disrupted, or where there is a threat of disease. Right now, we’re working in countries across east Africa that are affected by famine and food shortages, to make sure families have access to clean, safe water.

“Malnutrition is a function of several things, including access to safe water,” says Jeremy Hopkins of Unicef South Sudan. “With increased access to safe water, children are less likely to become malnourished. We’ve supported almost 370,000 people in South Sudan to access safe water so far this year.”

You could help us reach more children in east Africa to make sure that they have access to clean, safe water. Make a donation today.

Watch to find out how families in South Sudan struggle to access safe water in Juba and other parts of the country, and how Unicef is helping.

Your donation to our East Africa famine appeal could save a life

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