Life-Giving Water

April 11, 2012 • South Sudan

The lack of clean, safe water is one of the biggest challenges in the developing world. Samaritan's Purse is helping through wells, boreholes, household filters, and other programs

The line of women waiting for water stretches in both directions, dozens of people long. The importance of this precious liquid is sometimes not realized until we see these long lines and understand that water is life.

There are two hand pumps and one mechanized pump in this refugee camp in Doro, South Sudan. A fourth pump recently dried up. At each of the three water sources, the lines were this long or longer. Only at night, when women are discouraged from getting water because of safety concerns, does the pump take a rest.

Each woman has a jerry can. Each represents a family, and there are approximately 30,000 people in Doro. In Jamam, another refugee camp about two hours drive from Doro, there are nearly 1,000 new arrivals to the area each day.

Water is life, the key to survival for these people who have fled fighting in the Southern Blue Nile region of Sudan. Since last November, 80,000 refugees have sought safety in Doro and Jamam, located in a desolate region of South Sudan. New arrivals tell of ongoing bombing and violence in their homeland.

It is a struggle to survive in the harsh environment. They have no hope without water.

Whether in refugee camps or in impoverished villages, the lack of clean, safe water is one of the biggest challenges in the developing world. It is estimated that 1.58 million people—one every 20 seconds—die each year from diarrheal diseases caused by unclean water, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene habits. The majority of these are children in developing countries.

Samaritan’s Purse is helping by drilling wells, providing household filters and purification packets that remove contaminants from untreated water sources, installing high-capacity community filters to prevent further causalities when disaster strikes, and a variety of other programs.

Some of our water projects are as simple as fencing springs to keep animals from contaminating freshwater springs. Others are more specialized, such as installing a water system in a medical facility.