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A BOV E : Children who have collected water bring it back to their temporary homes at a settlement in Awerial, South Sudan. Access to clean water for cooking and drinking significantly reduces the risk of waterborne diseases like cholera. PHOTO: GEOFF PUGH / OXFAM BE LOW: Oxfam has set up massive facilities for displaced people in South Sudan to access clean water, such as this water point in Juba. PHOTO: MACKENZIE KNOWLES COURSIN / OXFAM

AB OV E: In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, Oxfam set up taps where people could access clean water, like this one in Port-auPrince. PHOTO: TOBY ADAMSON / OXFAM

Both are essential for human survival. Without clean drinking water, a person can only live for a few days. And without careful attention paid to hygiene and the safe disposal of fecal waste, the deadly diseases they trigger can race through crowded settlements with devastating consequences. “Ensuring people have the right information and materials they need is vital to improving the public health and well-being of communities,” says Myra Foster, a senior adviser on public health for Oxfam America, a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice. “In emergency situations, when families are often crowded together in unfamiliar surroundings, helping them meet their basic needs for clean water and sanitation is absolutely essential. It saves lives.”

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ORIGIN Magazine: Issue 21  

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