by Mom Chantara Soleil
To mark the World Water Day, Planet Water Foundation and Plan International Cambodia in collaboration with the Ministry of Rural Development spent the whole Mar. 22 to install 24 water purification systems in 24 remote schools of Siem Reap province.
First of its kind, the so-called 24-hour project is expected to bring access to properly treated water for 24,000 school children in the communities.
“Water covers around 70% of our planet, but of it only 1% is fresh water. For Cambodia, about half of our rural population has access to potable water,” said H.E. Try Meng, Rural Development Secretary of State when chairing the hand-over ceremony of the 24 water purification systems to the communities on Mar. 23.
“Children are most vulnerable when clean water is scarce and the scarcity has claimed more lives than HIV/AIDS,” he added.
According to H.E. Sang Riha, Siem Reap Deputy Provincial Governor, the province has approximately 923,000 dwellers – making up 6% of Cambodia’s total population. And about 57% of households in the province currently have access to clean water. It’s very much appreciated that the World Water Day is celebrated at Siem Reap.
“With limited clean water access, community people as well as the children are less productive due to water related illnesses such as diarrhoea caused by their consumption of untreated water. Globally, about 4,000 children die from water related illnesses every 24 hours or a day,” said Water Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist Mr. Hang Hybunna.
Since 2009, Plan and Planet Water Foundation have installed 64 high quality water purification systems, including the newly finished 24 sets.
“Our aim is to eliminate all kind of water related illnesses and to build up hope. We work to help people living in rural areas to have safe water for drinking and have a bright future,” said Mr. Mark Steele, Founder and CEO of Planet Water Foundation.
Though they are installed in schools, the water filters can also be accessed by villagers living nearby the schools. “And many students bring two or three bottles of purified water from the system home every day,” added Mr. Hybunna.
The most recent available data, access to water supply in rural areas in Cambodia was about 50%. The Royal Government of Cambodia is committed to achieve 100% universal coverage of water supply in the country by 2025.
Giving indispensable need of clean water access, the United Nation designated March 22nd as the World Water Day since 1993. Each year celebrated different theme of the day. The theme for 2015 is ‘Water and Sustainable Development’.