PNG: Safe Water Access Very Poor

by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby

“There is still a great need for accessible, clean water,” says Oxfam PNG’s Interim Country Director, Lingalireni Minoha.

With water being a daily struggle for many in Papua New Guinea, access to safe water is a big challenge.

When speaking of the joyful gratitude expressed by the locals from Simbu and Eastern Highlands Provinces, who are beneficiaries to Oxfam’s WASH Program, Minoha made this statement, an indication highlighting the importance of safe water and the struggles many around the country are living with every day.

And access to safe water is a continuous daily struggle for many Papua New Guinea both in the urban and rural areas.

According to Water AIDs global report, when marking World Water Day 2016, revealed that Papua New Guinea has the poorest safe water access.

The report further stated that not only is the country’s access to safe water being the poorest, but it is very costly to purchase water.

Image Source: DevPolicy Blog

With many people living in the remote rural parts of the country, bringing these needed services continues to remain a major barrier. This leaves many with no choice but to continue surviving on water from nearby sea, rivers, lakes, creeks, streams, dug up well and even water from the pump.

Today, many are yet to access safe clean water and continue using water known to be contaminated. Some purchase water, and for those who are paying water bills, tend to be cautious of water usage.

The report further stated that water supply has been given relatively low domestic political priority and as a result, has recieved limited financial invesmtent.

Geography challenges, funding, poor management and monitoring measures, cultural barriers, access, transportation and others are challenges that affect the gateway to bringing needed services like water.

Over the past years, Oxfam and other Non-Governmental Organisations together with local’s participation have worked together, facilitating to bring safe water initiatives to help many people in the rural areas.

While Oxfam and others continue to facilitate, create and partner locals to bring safe water to the people, the struggle and challenge is too big to reach, and many are yet to access safe water in the country.

Today, people are still using water known to be contaminated from the sea, ponds, creeks, streams, rivers and lakes.

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