UN Official Says Tuvalu Lacks Safe Drinking Water, Sanitation

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Water storage is needed to prevent ‘catastrophe’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 20, 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation says more water storage is needed in Tuvalu.

Catarina de Albuquerque visited Tuvalu this week and concluded that people not only lack water but adequate sanitation including access to toilets and bathing facilities.

She says people are facing a catastrophe, with difficulties maintaining water pipes and septic tanks and a lack of means to store water.

"There is a need for more storage capacity. There is also a need among some of the families I met who are economically deprived. There is also a need from supporting them in making sure that they have sufficient money to buy the gutters and the plumbing and that connects the water tanks to their houses."

Catarina de Albuqueque says the Tuvalu government must adopt and implement a national water strategy and plan of action to address the problems.

[PIR editor’s note: de Albuqueque also noted with concern that girls often don’t have access to proper menstrual hygiene, forcing them to stay home from school during the time they are menstruating.]

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