According to a charity, the number of rural Indians without clean water equivalent to UK population

The report by Wateraid states that 63 million rural people in India do not have access to clean water, mostly due to remote locations and climate issues

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child drinking water, wikimedia

New Delhi, March 21, 2017: According to a development charity,  India happens to be the home to the largest number of rural people without access to clean water. The country also faces an increased strain on scarce resources due to an escalating population and climate change among other factors, a development charity. Tuesday WaterAid stated over 63 million rural Indians (the number being equivalent of the population of Britain) do not use clean water to drink, cook or wash with, mostly due to remote locations,poor planning, weak infrastructure and such issues.

China occupied the second place with almost 44 million rural people without clean water in the report by WaterAid. The third spot was shared by Nigeria and Ethiopia; each with more than 40 million rural people without access to safe water, according to the study released ahead of World Water Day on March 22. In a statement, V K Madhavan, Chief Executive, Wateraid India said, “A majority of these people come from poor rural communities and any significant variation in the climate only worsens their daily struggle to access clean water.”

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He believes, because of the disaster-stricken state of 27 out of the 35 states and union territories, the poorest and the most marginalised across the country will have to bear the brunt of extreme weather events and climate change and naturally will find it the hardest to adapt.

According to Indian Express, Around 663 million people globally have no access to clean water, with almost 80 percent – 522 million – living in rural areas, WaterAid’s report said. Many are in countries that are already highly vulnerable to extreme weather hazards such as cyclones, floods and droughts. The rise in climate-related extreme weather events not only worsens their plight, but also leaves millions more water insecure, it added.

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It can be expected that diseases such as cholera, blinding trachoma, malaria and dengue will become more common and malnutrition more prevalent. A struggle to grow food and feed livestock amid soaring temperatures among rural farming communities can also be predicted.

According to the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index, even though it is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, India ranks amongst countries that are most vulnerable to climate change, but least ready to adapt.

Since sweeping to power in 2014 sanitation has been prioritized by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government – launching a “Clean India” campaign  which aims to provide toilets for all and end open defecation in the country by 2019. But it must be admitted that the task is mammoth.

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Wateraid’s repost has also mentioned that nearly 76 million Indians need improved water sources and 770 million require proper toilets. As a result, annually 68,000 children under five pass away due to diarrhea and such diseases caused by unsafe water access and poor sanitation, it added.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang