Eritrea tops this somber list according to WaterAid’s report published at the end of last year, ‘The Water Gap. The State of the World’s Water 2018’. Only 19 per cent of the population of this coastal nation has access to clean water close to home.
Papua New Guinea is the second country in the world with the lowest access to water, threatened by rising sea levels, extreme weather events and other devastating effects of climate change. In 2017, Papua New Guinea was at the top of this list.
Uganda comes in third. In this country, much of its population has to walk long distances in search of water, as only 38 per cent of the population has access to clean water close to their homes. Although Uganda has made progress in the years since the end of its civil war, its economy is slowing, increasingly unreliable rains are affecting agriculture, and conflict in neighbouring South Sudan has contributed to Uganda’s status as host to the largest number of refugees in Africa.
In the ninth place is Niger. In 2016, the United Nations ranked this landlocked country of the Sahel desert second least-developed nation in the world, with 44 per cent of its inhabitants living in poverty. Niger also has one of the highest population growth rates in the world: 3.9% per year. Due to droughts and floods, Niger’s food supply is insecure, affecting more than 1.5 million people in 2017, and an estimated 42 per cent of children under five are malnourished. The country is also home to some 300,000 refugees from conflict in neighbouring countries of Libya, Nigeria and Mali.
This is the complete list of the 10 countries with lowest access to water: