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Monday 19 November 2012

'World Toilet Day': Red Cross - 19 November

It's 'World Toilet Day' today.

Yes, I know. The sound of that probably makes you laugh a little.

But finding a toilet in some parts of the world is no laughing matter.

Indeed, being able to find a toilet when you need one is something most Australians take for granted: but in India more people own a mobile phone than have access to a toilet.

And what about this stat: every 20 seconds, somewhere in the world, a child dies as a result of poor sanitation.

Can you believe it? Utterly upsetting.

And so, today is World Toilet Day (19 November 2012), a time to raise awareness about the life-threatening risks faced by those who don’t have toilets or access to clean water.

Red Cross globally is working to reach more than 15 million people through its water and sanitation programs over the 10 years to 2015; with resources, funding and commitment, the situation does not have to stay this way.

Teaming up with Red Cross counterparts across Asia Pacific and around the world, and using donations from the public, Australian Red Cross has helped resource and back a range of water and sanitation ventures including:

· In the Philippines so far this year Red Cross helped build toilets and hand washing facilities for schools, and also promoted healthy hygiene practices which have improved conditions for more than 1600 students.

· In Laos last year, Red Cross supported projects providing more than 5800 people in remote areas with access to clean water and sanitation.

· In Vanuatu through a three year partnership Red Cross is helping bring toilets, water tanks and hand pumps to remote communities, benefiting close to 1100 people.

· In Vietnam over the last four years Red Cross has built toilets benefiting more than 11,000 school teachers and students, along with another almost 2,600 household toilets improving conditions for more than 12,000.

· In Timor Leste over the past decade Red Cross has been involved in water and sanitation projects that have improved conditions for around 60,000 people.

"Project by project it’s about changing and saving lives. Each venture helps to reduce the death and disease toll, improve maternal, infant and general community health, and quality of life," said Australian Red Cross water and sanitation specialist and aid worker Bob Handby. "But we need public support to continue this work, and much can be achieved with each donation."

You can support Red Cross by giving monthly. Or, you could make a one-off donation. Or, you could even leave a bequest in your will.

For more, visit http://redcross.org.au/ or call 1800 811 700

Photo credit: Australian Red Cross/Joe Cropp

Photo details: Ngo Hong Mai at the water storage tank Red Cross helped to install next to her family’s home in the mountains of northern Vietnam. As well as preventing the spread of water-born diseases, easy access to clean water has given Mai more time to do other things for her family.

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