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몽골 농촌 식수자원 개발 지원사업

2007.09.12

* UNICEF: Helping to lift the burden of finding water in rural Mongolia

* 29 Apr 2007


Facing a shortage of water, Khuangan must make a tricky descent into a dark pit outside his home. This well is the main water supply for his and three other families.

His mission is to clear the ice and sediment that have choked the flow below.

Few households enjoy piped drinking water in this neighbourhood of Bayan Ulgii, the capital of Mongolia’s westernmost province.

So most must take care of themselves – digging and maintaining their own wells, or using public water pumping stations.

Securing a steady and safe source of water is one of Khuangan’s main concerns. He has no regular job and his family struggles to make ends meet.

SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) – Khuangan, Ulgii resident: “We cannot just sit and wait until the government provides help. We have to take care of our own lives. We understand that very well. But no matter how hard we try, our lives do not improve much.”

His is a common problem. In rural Mongolia, only one out of five households has access to improved water sources. And less than five percent have adequate sanitation.

Unsafe water and sanitation take a particularly heavy toll on children. In most Mongolian families, children are responsible for fetching water for the household. According to a 2004 survey, more than a third of all children spend three to four hours a day collecting water – sometimes braving frozen rivers in winter or hauling large containers long distances.

Every year, nearly two thousand children under five suffer from diarrhoea.

Giving more families access to clean drinking water and safe sanitation is one of UNICEF’s key goals in Mongolia.

Working with communities, UNICEF hopes to improve the quality of water sources and latrines, especially in schools.

It also aims to teach children and their families better hygiene habits, such as thorough hand washing.

Better water and sanitation are a needed improvement in remote villages like Zavkhan, a dry and dusty district center in the west.

Here, 16-year-old E. Bulgan and her 12-year-old sister, Ganjuur, head for a nearby pumping station to refill their water supply.

SOUNDBITE (Mongolian) – E. Bulgan, Zavkhan resident: “Water is essential because it provides all our necessities. If we didn’t have water, our clothes would all be dirty and we would have nothing to cook the meals with. So water is vital for our lives.”

A precious commodity in a place where even basic resources are in short supply.

In Zavkhan, Mongolia, this is Steve Nettleton reporting for UNICEF Television. Unite for children.

 

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