UNICEF Encourages Overseas Safe Water Campaign

February 27, 2000

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is helping
Bangladesh to provide safe drinking water to the 24 million people exposed to
arsenic contamination, a skin disease- and cancer-causing element. ``We are
collaborating with the government in its effort to ensure safe drinking water to
the 24 million people exposed to arsenic contamination in Bangladesh,'' said
Shahida Azfar, UNICEF's Bangladesh representative.

Last October, Bangladesh appealed for international aid to
solve the problem including the launch of a national screening program to supply
arsenic-free drinking water. Contamination has spread to 29 percent of the
51,000 tubewells.

Many residents are forced to continue using contaminated
water despite its effects because of the lack of alternative resources. UNICEF
is helping with tests and looking for alternative water sources. The agency also
supports the training of 1,600 medical officers and 5,000 field health workers
and assists the government in water pollution awareness.

(Source: United Nations Children’s Fund)

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