Those spared by tsunami pledge money for clean water and sanitation

Finding clean water and adequate sanitation are now the main issues facing those caught up in the aftermath of the giant tsunami waves which flattened countries and islands in and around the Indian Ocean last December.

Charity workers in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, check water tanks before they are shipped out to relief camps in coastal areas hit by the tsunami. Copyright UNICEF India

Charity workers in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, check water tanks before they are shipped out to relief camps in coastal areas hit by the tsunami. Copyright UNICEF India

Mauritius, one of the few islands in the area not to be affected by the recent tsunami, has donated thousands of dollars to help rebuild the lives of those hit by one of the worst disasters in human history. At a ceremony attended by representatives of several of the countries ravished by the giant wave, Mauritian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Jayen Cutaree, delivered a cheque for US $50,000 to UNICEF to assist their tsunami relief efforts.

Mr Cutaree also presented US $250,000 to the various countries affected.

"While fortune spared Mauritius when the tsunami hit, our government cannot remain insensitive to the havoc and deep psychological trauma inflicted on the peoples of the affected countries," he stated.

"In the context of regional and global solidarity as well as vis-a-vis our own vulnerability, Mauritius is pleased to offer this donation."

UNICEF representative to Madagascar, Mauritius and the Comoros Islands, Barbara Bentein, said the funds would go a long way towards helping restore normality to the lives of those affected by the Asian tsunami.

"The money will help to reunite children with their families, protect them from exploitation and help them go back to school," she stated. "The funds will also go towards the provision of safe water, nutritional supplements and basic health care."

Former US President Bill Clinton's Foundation also joined forces with UNICEF earlier this month, launching an initiative to help families affected by the tsunami by providing victims with safe drinking water and sanitation systems.

These efforts will greatly help to prevent the spread of water-bourne diseases in tsunami-ravaged areas according to Mr Clinton, which could potentially increase the death toll considerably, infecting those who survived the initial waves.

"We have identified the provision of clean water and adequate sanitation as both an urgent and long-term need in many of the places struck by the tsunami," he said. "Clean water is, of course, the source of all life; without it, people cannot survive."

By Jane Kettle


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