Friday, April 11, 2003

Here's More of What Liberals Are Doing, Oh Mr. Instapundit

Marla Smith-Nilson is from a small town in southern Arizona, and a Flinn Foundation Scholar. (The Flinn Foundation runs a program which selects outstanding students from around the state and pays for their education at one of the three state universities, plus provides support, international travel, and other assistance to these students. The hope is that outstanding high school students will stay in Arizona, rather than having our best human capital leave the state.) Smith-Nilson is now Director of International Programs for WaterPartners International (Motto: We envision the day when everyone in the world can take a safe drink of water), which has kicked off a campaign to help provide emergency water supplies and sanitation for Iraq.

If we have won the war, we now need to deliver on our promise of humanitarian aid. She send my wife Beth an email that people interested in helping can give to WaterPartners, but beyond the immediate crisis in Iraq, the organization also wants to educate people about the global water crisis in general:

You have probably seen the images on the news -- looting and lack of security in Iraq is preventing international relief organizations from entering the country with emergency supplies. Even the Red Cross, the only organization that has been operating in the country throughout the war, has suspended its Iraqi relief program until the situation is more secure for its workers. Other organizations are stockpiling their supplies in neighboring countries but are not sure when they will be able to get into the country. Some are providing limited relief efforts to areas outside of Baghdad and Basra. In the meantime, I am reading reports about children begging westerners for water, lining the streets trying to stop their vehicles.

The rebuilding of the water infrastructure in Iraq will take years. It has been in decline for the past two decades following a civil war with the Kurds, the war with Iran, the invasion of Kuwait, the first Gulf war, UN sanctions, and now this war. Iraq's water situation was in a crisis state even before the war: since 1989, the number of people with access to safe water supplies has dropped from 92% to a staggering 11%. In this same time period, infant mortality rates have risen over 150%, and 70% of the deaths of children in Iraq are caused by water-related diseases. Given the war and resulting chaos, the situation can only be described as grim.

To help WaterPartners with their Iraq initiative, click here. You also can mail a donation payable to WaterPartners International to P.O. Box 654, Columbia, MO 65205-0654. Please note that the donation is for Iraq.

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