To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to support the one in four countries with ongoing humanitarian crises who are experiencing reductions of 10 per cent or more in household drinking water services compared with the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.
The UK Government recognises that countries with ongoing humanitarian crises can be particularly affected by COVID-19 and that access to drinking water can be reduced. In the first response phase to COVID-19 we provided £20 million of finance to UNICEF for urgent COVID-19 support including for water, sanitation and hygiene. We also supported the provision of emergency drinking water in a number of humanitarian contexts, including to nineteen Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Yemen, through our support to the Hygiene and Behaviour-change Coalition (HBCC), working with Unilever during the pandemic. As a longer-term effort, the UK Government met its 2015 - 2020 target of 60 million people with improved water or sanitation, of which 26.2 million people were based in fragile states. Going forward, the UK will continue to work with the Sanitation and Water for All partnership, which includes 69 partner governments, to increase political commitment to improving access to clean water and sanitation in the context of COVID-19 response and recovery.