Former Japanese leader makes appeal to ease
Afghan water shortage
U.S. Water News Online
TOKYO -- Afghanistan faces a water crisis as drought
continues in the south and winter sets in the north, and aid is
needed to avert a humanitarian disaster, an influential Japanese
Former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, who will chair the Third
World Water Forum that Japan hosts in 2003, said that the
international community is not paying enough attention to how an
adequate supply of safe water will be crucial to the future of
``Right now water aid is not in the consciousness of the public
and of most government officials,'' said Hashimoto. ``But we must do
Hashimoto said that Japan can help ease water shortages in a
post-conflict Afghanistan by providing water purifiers, technological
assistance to drill wells, and by transporting water to areas in
He said that the World Water Council, which is organizing the 2003
gathering on water issues, plans to send five experts to Afghanistan
to gauge the extent of its water crisis.
Experts on water issues who met this month in Egypt are drawing up
proposals to help Afghanistan, Hashimoto said, adding that he intends
to lobby the Japanese government to contribute to those efforts.
Hashimoto said he also hopes to persuade Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi's administration to include water aid in the duties of
Japanese troops dispatched to help in the U.S.-led anti-terror
Scientists are increasingly worried that overuse and pollution of
water resources are putting millions of people at risk worldwide.
The World Water Forum in Kyoto, which is expected to attract some
8,000 researchers and government officials, was organized to address
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