OCEANIA/SOLOMON ISLANDS - The lack of clean water threatens the safety of women

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Honiara (Agenzia Fides) – In the Solomon Islands, there is one of the highest rates of urbanization in the region and infrastructure for basic services are not sufficient to cope with the influx of people moving from the provinces to the capital, Honiara. 35% of the inhabitants of the city are facing serious health consequences due to lack of drinking water and health services. Located on the main island of Guadalcanal, Honiara is a coastal town and port where there are 64,600 people, 22,500 of these are housed in 30 villages. Many have come in search of greater economic opportunities and better access to public health services, while others arrived during the civil conflict which broke out from 1999 to 2003 and called 'Tensions', among the communities for access to the territories and resources of Guadalcanal, during which much of the infrastructure of Honiara went destroyed. The families of Honiara must search for drinking water for cooking, drinking and bathing every day. In the villages, 92% of households do not have any supply, 27% use fountains and 20% collects water from wells, rivers and streams. According to the Solomon Islands Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector Brief (WASH), health care coverage of the Islands is 32%, in Honiara only 2% of people have regular toilets, and for physiological needs 20% uses holes, 55% the sea, rivers or adjacent land. In the slums there is no drinking water and these deficiencies also have an impact on health resulting in cases of dysentery, diarrhea and cholera. According to estimates by the United Nations Environment Programme, 10% of all deaths of children under five years of age on all the islands of the Pacific are caused by diseases related to diarrhea. In the Solomon Islands 8%. The 2011 report of Amnesty International denounces that the lack of water and sanitation facilities also promote violence against women every day who have to travel long distances to get water. In fact, if there is no water men abuse women because it is their task to get it for the whole family. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 10/04/2013)