PERU: Salesian Missions funded piping for clean water in two villages, impacting 1,200 people
Clean water access will help improve the health and hygiene of people in these villages as well as curb the outbreak of disease.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (March 12, 2020) Mountaintop villagers in Watzapampa and Shinua Jangas-Huaraz, Peru, were able to run 2,500 feet of piping to bring clean drinking water to their villages in 2016, improving the quality of life for more than 1,200 people thanks to donor funding through Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative.”
The communities are still feeling the positive effects from this donation. Since being able to access clean water, those living in the villages have had drinking water in their homes for the first time. The water is safe for human consumption and doesn’t expose people to life-threatening diseases. In addition, the community now has access to proper sanitation with the construction of a public restroom.
“Having access to clean water and proper sanitation brings a sense of dignity to children and families,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Improving water and sanitation facilities also ensures that youth are living in an environment that promotes proper hygiene, reducing the number of waterborne illnesses.”
UN-Water estimates that worldwide 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services and by 2050, the world’s population will have grown by an estimated 2 billion people, pushing global water demand up to 30 percent higher than today. One in four primary schools has no drinking water service, with students using unprotected water sources or going thirsty. In addition, UN-Water notes that more than 700 children under 5 years of age die every day from diarrheal disease linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation.
“Water is essential for life, and it’s critical that Salesian programs around the globe have access to safe, clean water for the health and safety of those we serve,” adds Fr. Baek. “In response to this crisis, Salesian Missions has continued its ‘Clean Water Initiative’ making building wells and supplying fresh, clean water a top priority for every community in every country in which Salesian missionaries work.”
Peru faces high levels of income inequality and has more than a quarter of its population living in poverty, according to the World Bank. Poverty levels are significantly higher in rural areas but urban areas struggle most with inequality, most notably metropolitan Lima. Poverty in the country is made worse by a shortage of productive farmland and a lack of job skills among women entering the workforce, as well as a lack of adequate housing, nutrition and education.
Peru has also been plagued by hunger and disaster. According to the World Bank, close to 25 percent of children in the country are chronically malnourished. Communities continue to rebuild after an 8.0 earthquake in August 2007 which killed more than 500 people in the central coastal cities of Chincha, Pisco and Ica and injured hundreds more. The quake destroyed close to 60,000 residential and commercial buildings, leveled hundreds of acres of farmland and left countless Peruvians without means of livelihood.
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