PunditFact checks Matt Damon's claim on clean water

St. Petersburg, Florida -- He's not your typical pundit, but Matt Damon was on ABC's This Week discussing the lack of clean water in developing countries. He's working to make an impact with a charity he co-founded, Water.org.

During his interview, Damon brought up a startling statistic about what the lack of water means for children in those countries.

Here's what he said:

"Every 20 seconds, a child dies because they lack access to clean water and sanitation. Every 20 seconds, three kids every minute somewhere on planet Earth. Not here. Our kids aren't going to die from diarrhea. That's just an inconvenience to us in the West. But it is a stark, terrifying reality to billions of people on the planet."

While Damon is bringing to light a problem, PunditFact found Water.org used research from UNICEF and the World Health Organization from a 2009 report, referencing statistics from 2004.

Fact-checkers say part of the problem is the data is outdated and has since been updated.

"Subsequent studies have found that number has basically been cut in half to about 7.5 million children dying, which amounts to a child dying every 40 seconds and not every 20 seconds," says Katie Sanders with PunditFact.

That is still a startling number, but because Damon's data is a little old, PunditFact rates his claim: HALF TRUE.

PunditFact reached out to Water dot org, but did not hear back. You can read the details behind this fact-check here.

As March Madness continues, PunditFact is getting in on the fun with its first PunditFact Madness bracket.

It's a showdown of the Sunday show pundits. You can vote for your favorite here.


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