Posted in Issue 96 July 2004 News from PAHO/WHO
Each October since 1992, Latin America and the Caribbean have celebrated the Inter-American Water Day. This year, on October 2, the Region will borrow from the 2004 World Water Day, celebrated in March, with the theme “Water and Disasters.” In the Americas, emphasis will be placed on the importance of water when it comes to protecting health in disaster situations and the need for water service providers, as well as health service providers, to incorporate risk management into their day-to-day administrative tasks.
The burden of disease associated with inadequate or poorly-managed water resources is increased in disaster situations. WHO states that “almost two billion people – one-third of humanity – were affected by natural disasters in the last decade of the 20th century, 86% of them by floods and drought. There are high rates of suffering and death in populations affected by natural and manmade disasters, mainly due to common illnesses made life-threatening by crisis conditions.”
All countries are invited to begin preparing to mark this day, which will be celebrated close to the UN World Disaster Reduction Day (October 13). Several regional organizations are sponsoring events. More information is available on the web site of the Pan American Center for Sanitary Engineering and Environmental Sciences www.cepis.ops-oms.org/cepis/e/bvsadiaa.php or from WHO at www.who.int/ (search on “water and disasters.”)