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By Philip Dowa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Mar. 23) - The European Union will provide about K100 million (US$33 million) to improve water supply and sanitation in the rural communities in Papua New Guinea.

This was announced during celebrations yesterday to commemorate the World Water Day at Haikost Primary School in Lae.

University of Technology lecturer Dr. Fifia Matayanaho said under the Medium Term Development Strategy, the government intends to have at least 15 percent of the rural population connected to water supply and good sanitation.

Matayanaho was speaking on behalf of the Papua New Guinea Waterboard (PNGWB) chairman Dr. Graham Atkins who was not able to attend the celebrations.

He said the University of Technology was also embarking on a research for a desalination plant, to convert salt water into fresh water, using affordable methods to assist the coastal villages.

He said while PNG enjoys surplus of water, about 1.5 billion people around the world have no access to water and thousands die daily of lack of water.

"It is also important to note that about 2.4 billion people around the globe also do not have access to sanitation," Matayanaho said.

The PNGWB visited the Haikost and Buimo Road Primary Schools, two schools located in the heart of settlement areas in Lae City.

Students at Haikost cited poems and put up various displays to mark the occasion.

March 24, 2005

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