Access to clean water: Facts are heartbreaking

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KENYA — At the next sight of clean water, consider:

• An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the typical person living in a developing country's slum uses in a whole day (United Nations Development Programme).

• 1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe water, roughly one in eight of the world's population. In Africa, two out of five people lack clean water (World Health Organization/United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund).

• The average North American uses 158.5 gallons of water a day. The average person in the developing world uses 2.6 — 5.2 gallons a day for drinking, washing and cooking (U.N. Human Development Report).

• The average weight of water women in Africa carry on their heads is 50 pounds, the same as the average airport checked luggage allowance (U.N. Human Development Report).

• Every year there are 4 billion cases of diarrhea as a direct result of drinking contaminated water — resulting in 2.2 million deaths each year, equivalent to 20 jumbo jets crashing every day (World Health Organization).

• 98 percent of water-related deaths occur in the developing world (World Health Organization).

• 1.4 million children die every year from diarrhea caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. That's 4,000 child deaths a day or one child every 20 seconds (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund).

• About 2 in 3 people lacking access to clean water survive on less than $2 per day, with 1 in 3 living on less than $1 (World Health Organization).

• The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns (United Nations Development Programme).

• 84 percent of water related deaths are in children ages 0-14 (World Health Organization).

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