PRIF media releases
New World Bank report finds severe lack of access to water & sanitation for thousands of families across the Pacific: World Toilet Day 2015
SYDNEY, 19 November 2015 – As more and more families migrate from rural areas to Pacific capital cities, water, sanitation and health challenges in rapidly growing informal settlements in key Pacific capital cities are in urgent need of response, according to a new World Bank report. Released to coincide with World Toilet Day 2015, Unsettled: water and sanitation in urban settlement communities of the Pacific, highlights the reasons why thousands of families in Melanesia – Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea (PNG) – are unable to access basic water and sewage services. The report makes a number of recommendations on how governments, utility providers, charities and donors can work together to improve access and affordability. In the Melanesian capital cities of Honiara, Port Moresby, Port Vila and Suva, up to 45% of the population live in informal settlements – areas of poorly-constructed housing on land without formal legal titles, often on flood-prone, steep or cramped plots of land. As more people relocate to the capital, and housing and infrastructure planning remains inadequate, this could grow to 65% of the capital city residents by 2023. The rapid growth of settlements is compounding health and social problems associated with poor provision of water, sanitation, and hygiene services–including the spread of diseases like cholera and diarrhea, increased vulnerability of women and children, and an erosion of privacy and dignity. The report suggests that the lack of water and sanitation services is partly the result of the absence of clear responsibilities and mandates of government and water utility providers, further complicated by land tenure and difficulties in adapting existing technologies to suit settlement areas. Billing processes are also a challenge, and some governments are reluctant to provide services in fear of encouraging settlement growth. Click on title below to download.