Solomons water upgrade by NGOs
The head of World Vision in Solomon Islands says he hopes funding from UNICEF to a joint NGO project will build a more resilient water and sanitation network.
The head of World Vision in Solomon Islands says he hopes funding from UNICEF for a joint NGO project will build a more resilient water and sanitation network.
UNICEF has given US$2m towards improving safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene, in a project called WASH, to communities on Makira, Guadalcanal, Isabel and Honiara.
Jenny Meyer asked World Vision's Andrew Catford if April's flooding disaster has highlighted the need for an upgrade of water systems in Solomon Islands.
ANDREW CATFORD: Definitely, before the floods of this April, statistics for Solomon Islands was about fifty per cent of the population had access to clean water and about thirty per cent to sanitation. So when you have a major disaster like the one we had, a sort of one in thirty year event, you really sort of notice the impact of those low coverage rates. So particularly as you would have seen in the media, there's been issues with diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, water-borne diseases. A lot of those can be fairly easily dealt with if you do have adequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene practices in place beforehand. I think what's difficult is when you've got those initial coverage rates I mentioned and then you've got a disaster on top of that, you end up having quite a few health problems. So certainly this funding is to help sort of move things forward in that particular sector of water supply, sanitation and hygiene. So hopefully if and when future disasters happen you know those particular communities are better prepared and have things in place to cope with those types of incidents.
JENNY MEYER: And what's your feeling about whether it's enough money? I guess there have been some concerns about international reponse to the Solomon's flooding disaster. What are your thoughts there?
AC: Yeah, look, it has been a large disaster. As I mentioned the largest one since Cyclone Namu about thirty years ago. So these things are always fairly costly. So certainly the funding that's needed to really get those communities back to normal is not all there yet. There's still a significant gap. The other interesting thing with water supply and sanitation in particular, is as I mentioned, even before this disaster only fifty per cent of the population had access to water and thirty per cent to sanitation, so there's quite a gap in funding needed to really get those communities up to Millenium Development Goals. So certainly there's a large task ahead of agencies like World Vision and the other partners to try and help the country try and get up to those sort of minimum standards, which you know in New Zealand and elsewhere we'd all see as things you just need to have in place. But in Solomon Islands there's still a long way to go to sort of have those things in place here.
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