In a New Delhi neighborhood, residents line up in the blistering 45 degree Celsius heat (113 Fahrenheit) carrying empty jerry cans and water bottles, waiting for the government water tanker truck to arrive.
"We only get water once a week and each time we have to fight for it," one woman yells.
There are no laid pipelines in unplanned areas like this, so tanker trucks are their only source of water.
With the truck arrives chaos.
Editor's note: Matt Damon and Gary White are co-founders of Water.org, a nonprofit that helps communities achieve sustainable water systems. They are participating in the World Economic Forum's annual meeting this week to advocate for universal access to safe water and sanitation. This is one in a series of columns CNN Opinion is publishing in association with the Skoll World Forum on people who are finding new ways to help solve the world's biggest problems.
In separate trips to Guatemala and Zambia in the late 1980s and in the early 2000s, we each saw the devastating effect of the water and sanitation crisis firsthand. We saw a world in which basic needs went drastically unmet - where a lack of safe water and sanitation robbed men, women and children of health, hope and even life.
Editor's note: Rachel Smith is the co-founder of Halfsies, a social initiative offering a choice to restaurant-goers that provides a healthier meal portion, reduces food waste and supports the fight against hunger. Follow Halfsies on Twitter.
We're all familiar with the phrase "waste not, want not," but how well are we applying these words today?
For many of us, we buy more than we need, we spend more than we earn, we eat more than our fill. The consequence of excessive living and waste affect not only us, but also our global neighbors and future generations.
Tens of thousands of people have fled northern Mali as Islamist militants tighten their grip over the vast desert region. Those who remain face an increasingly desperate humanitarian situation with little access to food, clean water and medicine. The International Rescue Committee and international relief organizations, meanwhile, are struggling to deliver vital aid to suffering Malian civilians.
Over 450,000 people have fled the north since the Islamist takeover and another half-million people inside the country are in need of immediate assistance according to the United Nations and international aid organizations.
“The situation in the north of the country is becoming more and more alarming,” said Tasha Gill, who directs the IRC’s aid programs in Mali. “Basic services like health centers, water points and schools have stopped functioning. And although food can be found at the market now, many simply cannot afford to buy it. A perfect storm is brewing and thousands need humanitarian assistance.”
The heat inside the small medical clinic is stifling. An occasional breeze from an open window provides the only relief. A dozen lethargic children, their ribs exposed and twig-like arms outstretched, lay on beds covered by mosquito nets.
I accompany Keita Cheick Oumar, a doctor with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), as he checks on patients in a health clinic located in the densely populated Kati district, near the Malian capital of Bamako. Kati district has been hard hit by Mali’s deepening hunger crisis and as elsewhere in the country the crisis is having an especially devastating impact on children.
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