Friday, February 8, 2013
Disruption of sanitation services in Syria putting children’s health at risk
Access to clean water is a defining characteristic of civilized populations, and while Americans and most of the world has taken this for granted for years, a huge number of people still do not enjoy this luxury. Syria, located in the Middle East just west of Iraq, has had a long history of dangerous living conditions and human rights issues. Since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in early 2011, large areas have been subjected to violent conflict. The continued conflict has seriously stalled national production of water treatment chemicals, and many regions have been forced to live without reliable access to clean water. According to UNICEF, an increasing number of families are forced to pay rising prices for delivered water from mobile tankers. Between the lack of clean water and increasing exposure to untreated sewage, Syrians, especially children, are subject to water-borne diseases.
While UNICEF and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) are acting to supplying humanitarian aid and emergency hygiene kits, the scale of these efforts are severely limited by a lack of funds. Politically or economically, giving aid to Syria may not be in America’s best interest, but as a country that wastes an extreme amount of clean water each day, we should feel responsible for aiding clean water efforts around the world. Establishments of just governments and effective education systems and other factors of civilized populations cannot happen until the basic needs of the people and of the children are cared for. Syrians have the right to clean water as much as anyone from a developed nation, and the establishment of a method to provide clean water will be a major step in the progress of the country.