Africa

Daily hunt for water affects millions of Africans

  • In this photo taken Sunday, March 12, 2017, a girl Abuk walks home with her brothers and friends after collecting clean water from a water point four kilometers away from her home, in Aweil, in South Sudan. As World Water Day approaches on March 22, more than 5 million people in South Sudan, do not have access to safe, clean water, compounding the problems of famine and civil war, according to the UNICEF. (Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin/UNICEF via AP)

    In this photo taken Sunday, March 12, 2017, a girl Abuk walks home with her brothers and friends after collecting clean water from a water point four kilometers away from her home, in Aweil, in South Sudan. As World Water Day approaches on March 22, more than 5 million people in South Sudan, do not have access to safe, clean water, compounding the problems of famine and civil war, according to the UNICEF. (Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin/UNICEF via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Saturday, March 11, 2017, women walk across parched and burned former farmland on the outskirts of Aweil, in South Sudan. As World Water Day approaches on March 22, more than 5 million people in South Sudan, do not have access to safe, clean water, compounding the problems of famine and civil war, according to the UNICEF. (Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin/UNICEF via AP)

    In this photo taken Saturday, March 11, 2017, women walk across parched and burned former farmland on the outskirts of Aweil, in South Sudan. As World Water Day approaches on March 22, more than 5 million people in South Sudan, do not have access to safe, clean water, compounding the problems of famine and civil war, according to the UNICEF. (Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin/UNICEF via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Sunday, March 12, 2017, a boy sits next to a fetid pool of water in Aweil, in South Sudan. As World Water Day approaches on March 22, more than 5 million people in South Sudan, do not have access to safe, clean water, compounding the problems of famine and civil war, according to the UNICEF. (Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin/UNICEF via AP)

    In this photo taken Sunday, March 12, 2017, a boy sits next to a fetid pool of water in Aweil, in South Sudan. As World Water Day approaches on March 22, more than 5 million people in South Sudan, do not have access to safe, clean water, compounding the problems of famine and civil war, according to the UNICEF. (Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin/UNICEF via AP)  (The Associated Press)

More than 5 million people in South Sudan do not have access to safe, clean water, compounding the country's problems of famine and civil war, according to the UNICEF. Even those South Sudanese who can find water spend much of their day hiking, fetching and carrying the containers of the precious fluid that is essential to life.

As World Water Day approaches on March 22, nearly 27 million people do not have access to clean water in Somalia, South Sudan, northeastern Nigeria and Yemen. In total about 12 percent of world population lacks clean drinking water and water-related diseases account for 3.5 million deaths each year, more than car accidents and AIDS combined, according to the World Water Council.

In Africa 319 million people, representing 32 percent of sub-Saharan Africans, don't have safe drinking water.