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Half of Vanuatu residents lack clean water

April 23, 2015 6:02 pm

The United Nations Children’s Fund says more than 100,000 people in Vanuatu have no clean drinking water, more than a month after Cyclone Pam struck.

UNICEF says two thirds of the archipelago’s water and sanitation infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed and most wells are contaminated.

The chief of UNICEF Vanuatu field office, Ketsamay Rajphangthong, says as a result there’s lots of risks of people contracting diseases especially diarrhea.

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Cyclone Pam destroyed homes and infrastructure, leaving 11 dead and affecting the majority of the 252,800 Vanuatu population.

The agency has been providing water purification tablets and plastic sheets for rainwater collection as a temporary substitute for the 68 percent of rainwater harvesting structures that have been damaged.

Ketsamay Rajphangthong says fixing the damage is urgent because women and children have to walk to shower facilities and toilets further from home, lacking privacy and exposing themselves to abuse.

UNICEF needs US$1.5 million to close the gap between donations and its appeal target so it can finish the repairs.

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