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Thandiwe Newton, Nadiya Hussain and Lemn Sissay among stars backing WaterAid climate change campaign

Written by on 30 July 2021

Hollywood star Thandiwe Newton, TV chef Nadiya Hussain, and author Lemn Sissay are among several celebrities supporting a new WaterAid climate change campaign.

The charity’s Our Climate Fight project is urging the government to help vulnerable communities around the world access a reliable source of water so that they can “protect themselves from the destructive effects of climate change”.

Celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, actors Dougray Scott and Amanda Mealing and tennis player Heather Watson are also supporting the campaign.

WaterAid Ambassador Dougray Scott stands by the village water pump in M'Mele Village, Cuamba District, Niassa Province, Mozambique in May 2017. Pic: WaterAid/ Eliza Powell Image: WaterAid ambassador Dougray Scott, pictured in M’Mele Village in Mozambique, is also among the celebrity supporters. Pic: WaterAid/ Eliza Powell

The stars have signed an open letter which is set to be presented to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November, WaterAid says.

It comes following strong warnings about the effects of climate change around the world in recent weeks, with heavy rain and flooding across the UK and Europe and meteorologists saying that even British summers may regularly hit 40C (104F).

Great British Bake Off winner Hussain said she has relatives in Bangladesh, a low-lying country that is a victim of unpredictable floods and cyclones.

“The changing climate is making it harder for some of the world’s poorest communities to get clean water, with countries like Bangladesh, where many of my family live, being particularly vulnerable to the devastating effects of extreme weather,” she said.

“I’m supporting WaterAid’s campaign to highlight the harsh experiences faced by people living on the frontline of the climate crisis, and am joining the fight calling for action so they can remain resilient to whatever the future holds.”

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Sissay added: “If families have the basics like clean water, they can be more prepared for natural disasters, enabling them to bounce back quicker when they strike, so communities have the chance to thrive, no matter what the future holds.”

One in 10 people across the world do not have clean water close to home, which has a damaging impact on education and livelihoods and leaves them more susceptible to deadly diseases, according to WaterAid.

Climate change is making it even harder for vulnerable communities to get clean water, with longer droughts drying up springs and wells, and more frequent flooding polluting often already fragile water supplies.

WaterAid chief executive Tim Wainwright said: “For millions of vulnerable people across the world, the devastating impacts of climate change aren’t a probability; they’re already here.

“It is a crisis they didn’t cause, and it’s making it harder for them to get vital resources like clean water, trapping whole communities in poverty.”

He added: “Time and again the world has failed its poorest people; now is the time to turn the tide.”