Dying for Water

Children and Girls Hit Hardest in Deadly Quest for Clean Water

Water is life. It’s essential to every person, plant, and animal on earth. But in South Sudan, the lack of clean water is a death sentence for many.

In developed nations, it’s easy to take water for granted. We turn on the faucet to wash our hands or dishes, fill a glass from our purified dispenser, and hop in the shower without a second thought.

But for more than half the population of South Sudan, access to clean water doesn’t exist. In order to survive, families are often forced to drink dirty water from contaminated sources. This puts them as risk of waterborne diseases like cholera and typhoid, and contracting malaria by infected mosquitoes populated in the stagnant water. Malaria remains the leading cause of death for children in this nation.

Dire Water Statistics
in South Sudan

  • more than 50% have no access to clean water
  • mosquitos from stagnant water carry malaria that’s the #1 killer of children
  • during the dry season there is almost zero rainfall nationwide

During the dry season, when there is almost zero rainfall, the crisis is even worse. Water sources – even dirty ones – are not just hard to come by, but often life threatening to reach.

Life threatening is not an exaggeration. A constant threat to women and girls is the risk of being raped and beaten when forced to trek long hours to fetch clean water. Hauling 50-pound containers, girls are highly vulnerable to attacks by marauders who know they’ll be coming.

No girl should have to risk violent assault for clean drinking water.

Abi’s experience is an all-too-common story in the dry season. Abi taught her young son not to drink from puddles in the road – which can be fraught with excrement from livestock and teeming with deadly bacteria. But eventually his thirst overwhelmed him and he scooped some filthy water into his mouth.

It only took a short time for her young son to grow critically ill from cholera. Severely weakened from dehydration herself, Abi carried him for more than a day on foot to the only place within many miles where she could find help.

It was the health clinic at Ave Maria Parish made possible by Sudan Relief Fund, an outpost of hope and relief. There her son received treatment for cholera and the lifegiving elixir of clean water.

But the clinic and well wouldn’t exist without the support of Sudan Relief Fund and our donors. For many others, there is still nowhere to turn.

“It is a travesty that in this modern age, children are still at risk of cholera from drinking contaminated water . . . that young women risk rape and abduction just for having the courage to leave a village to seek fresh water for their families.” Bishop Eduardo Kussala

Clean water is a basic human right – to deny someone is considered a crime against humanity. Yet every day, more than half the families in South Sudan have no choice but to drink cups filled with dirty, contaminated, disease-ridden water.

Children continue to die from waterborne diseases. Women and girls suffer or die in brutal attacks desperately trying to get water.

But these tragedies can be prevented. With your support, Sudan Relief Fund has been drilling wells that bring clean water and transform entire communities.

  • A well-digging crew can bring clean water to a remote village for about $15,000 US dollars.
  • For only $3,000, our partners can repair a pump that has failed or a well that needs to be deepened.

Providing clean water is a relatively simple and inexpensive way to save many lives, leaving a ripple effect of benefits in a community for generations.

  • Prevent disease and unnecessary deaths
  • Protect women and girls
  • Strengthen communities with health and vitality

A commodity so common and inexpensive for most of us literally means the difference between life and death in this country.

Please partner with us today. You, or your church or organization, can sponsor some or all of the construction of a well, with naming opportunities available. Any gift will make a lifesaving impact.

“I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.” – Matthew 25:35

Please give the gift of life that flows from wells we are ready to dig. Somewhere a mother who pours a clean cup of water for her child thanks you.

Neil A. Corkery


Neil A. Corkery President

PS – Each year thousands of children die needlessly from drinking contaminated water. Girls continue to endure assault while trying to find water. We can stop these appalling tragedies by providing clean, safe, local water sources. Please give a gift today.

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