International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Water and Sanitation

A boy collects water at an IRC-installed water point in Arbat refugee camp, Iraq
Photo: Peter Biro/IRC

An astounding 800 million people around the world, many in cities and urban slums, have no access to clean water, toilets and bathing facilities. Those living in rural settings often can’t afford the cost of a well, so they fetch muddy water from ponds and rivers.

Natural disasters and wars create greater challenges for millions more. Elementary services are disrupted, and facilities are destroyed or made unsafe. Those displaced from their homes are forced to survive in makeshift spaces without clean water or sanitation. 

The devastating result: More than 4,000 children die each day from preventable water-borne diseases.

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How We Help

  • The IRC operates environmental health programs in 19 countries around the world. In 2014 we gave 3.3 million people access to clean drinking water and sanitation.
  • We focus on eliminating diseases and death caused by poor sanitation, inadequate water supply and unsafe hygiene practices.
  • We provide water, sanitation and waste management services in refugee camps and camps for displaced people around the world.
  • We provide durable water supplies, and we work with local governments and communities to mobilize families to build latrines and improve hygiene practices.
October 20, 2015 | Blog
Despite bitter cold and choppy seas, refugees from Syria and other conflict-ridden countries continue to risk the perilous six-mile boat journey from Turkey to Greece—a devastating testament to their desperation.