Rome (Agenzia Fides) - Pope Francis will launch the global debate expected on the occasion of World Water Day, which is celebrated today, March 22. In fact, at the end of the general audience in St Peter's Square, WATERSHED will begin, the first of a series of programs and activities planned for the next five years. Currently, around the world, nearly 1 billion people are without safe water. According to World Water Council - WWC data, 923 million people lack access to safe drinking water: 319 million inhabitants of Sub-Saharan Africa (32% of the population), 554 million Asians (12.5% of the population), and 50 million South Americans (8% of the population).
Among these regions, only 40% of the population in Papua New Guinea has access to clean water. Followed by Equatorial Guinea (48%), Angola (49%), Chad and Mozambique (51%), the Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar (52%), and Afghanistan (55%). Still, 12% of the world population has no access to clean water sources and 3.5 million deaths per year are attributable to water-borne diseases.
Floods, typhoons, tsunamis, storms, cyclones, drought and famine then make water a threat to millions of people suffering from the extreme effects of climate change.
Recently devastating floods have been hitting the north of Peru (see Fides 16/03/2017). In addition to climatic events with catastrophic effects, the lack and scarcity of drinking water and water sources for livestock and agriculture are causing a severe food crisis in four countries already devastated by War: Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen where as many as 20 million people have no access to food and water. In the Somali Region of Ethiopia thousands of people die because they do not even have a glass of water (see Fides 21/03/2017). (AP) (Agenzia Fides 22/03/2017)