From the Field

WASH what? Refugees struggle to meet basic needs

Across the globe, most refugees struggle to meet their basic needs for clean water, hygiene, and sanitation.

Clean water to drink. Water for cooking. Privacy for shower and toilet.

Take them for granted?

Across the globe, most refugees struggle to meet their basic needs for water, hygiene, and sanitation.


  • More than half the refugee camps in the world can’t provide residents with a minimum daily water requirement of about 20 liters, about 5.3 gallons, per person.
  • 30% of camps lack adequate waste disposal and latrines.
  • Refugees who are unregistered and live on their own often fare worse.

That’s the situation for many of the 1.6 million Syrian refugees today. Living conditions have become dire for a population of people besieged by civil war. As they flee to escape the brutalities of the conflict, their presence is placing a strain on public services in host countries — most crucially for clean water.

World Vision provides access to clean water, basic sanitation facilities, and hygiene education in communities of refugees around the world because they are some of the most effective ways to prevent child disease and death. World Vision has committed $400 million to WASH (clean water, sanitation, and hygiene) projects worldwide between 2010 and 2015.

Without water, peoples’ life, health, and dignity are in jeopardy.

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A joyful girl smiles widely in a blue patterned skirt in a dry, rural landscape.
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