Women, who often suffer from exploitation, violence and neglect, play the most committed role in any crisis. Nowadays, those who suffer the lack of access to water and sanitation are also the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The SDG 5 is in serious danger and we cannot tolerate this. No solution is possible without women being at the center of the response.
Covid -19 has shot to pieces all aid programs against global childhood malnutrition. The situation of extreme vulnerability in which millions of children in the poorest regions have been left is a collateral emergency to that of the virus which has already turned into a terrible humanitarian crisis. The difficulty of access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation always goes hand in hand with abandoned and malnourished children. The international reaction has already started and aid projects are greatly increasing. Together we will succeed.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has reminded us that pandemics are also natural disasters, although much more threatening. They are universal, affecting all human activities everywhere and individual human behavior plays a decisive role in their spread. The humanitarian and economic crises they cause must make us more aware than ever of the need to invest in their prevention.
Refugees are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Covid-19 has worsened their situation and added uncertainty to their future. At the height of the health crisis, those displaced by floods, droughts and pests are added to those fleeing violence and wars that have not diminished during the pandemic. Many of these conflicts seem to have been temporarily forgotten. It is time to remember them.
A new project of the Foundation helps the most vulnerable schoolchildren to effectively fight Covid-19. In Nicaragua, where the government is heavily criticized for the way it has dealt with the pandemic, there is a serious lack of access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in many schools. More than five hundred schoolchildren and some 3,200 inhabitants of the municipalities of Yalí and San Lorenzo are being empowered to face infections.
Covid-19 has led to the closure of educational activities. But the Internet has allowed rich countries to soften the impact. In poorer countries, with a more vulnerable educational system, this has not been possible. Mankind urgently needs to close the digital gap to maintain educational development. This is borne out by the testimony of those who are fighting for access to water, sanitation and hygiene.
Beyond human tragedy, COVID-19 poses a reflection on how we relate to each other and to nature. And it leads us to another vision of the problems that beset the human species. The new society that is emerging from the crisis will have to integrate health emergencies into a more global vision with the values of proportionality and cohesion that are characteristic of the culture of the green economy. The path towards the SDGs must be aware of the fact that a pollution-free and ecologically balanced planet is synonymous with health.
Confidence in the safety and efficiency of the comprehensive water cycle has been reinforced during the Covid-19 pandemic, among those citizens who are guaranteed it. Most of them now have a better understanding of a key service that ensures their well-being. This knowledge should serve to reflect on the situation of the 2.1 billion people who do not have running water in their homes. The crisis unleashed by the pandemic threatens the plans of many countries with regard to the universal implementation of access to water and sanitation. Humanity cannot afford it.
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