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안전한 식수 파라과이 건조지대 지역주민

2007.11.20

* Safe drinking water for Paraguay's semi-arid region
* 29 Aug 2007

Like many communities in Paraguay's semi-arid region, Nazareth receives nearly all of its rain between the months of November and March.

When there is no rain, there is no easy access to clean drinking water, so during these times families either walk great distances to fetch water or drink from possibly contaminated sources.

Digno Bogarin is the father of five. He lost one child who became ill with severe diarrhea. "The main problems here are water and health," he says. "I'm very worried because we don't have enough water. Before, there were some people who taught us how to clean dirty water using chemicals. But now we can't even afford the chemicals, so we just drink dirty water, and this makes us sick."

His children spend many hours each day walking to a nearby pond to collect water. It's also used by animals, so the water frequently makes them ill. Their plight is shared by many indigenous communities in the region.

UNICEF's response to this threat to childhood survival is a simple system. Rain falls on the roof, is diverted into pipes, then sent into a large, covered well, which can be accessed by a simple hand pump. "UNICEF is working to promote child rights; and the rights of indigenous children are the most vulnerable," says Ana Ramos, UNICEF Project Assistant. "UNICEF is focused on early survival, so we want to guarantee that children have reliable access to clean water, good nutrition and an adequate health system."

More than one billion people use unsafe drinking water sources. As a result, thousands of children die every day from diarrhea or related infections. Providing long-term solutions like water-collection systems not only saves lives, it allows communities to focus on other important concerns, like sustainable development and education.


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