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Posted on on January 8th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

– UN, January 8, 2010

Actors, rappers and environmentalists are scaling Mount Kilimanjaro in
Tanzania to spotlight the global clean water crisis, which affects more
than 1 billion people worldwide, and to raise funds for the United Nations
refugee agency and other humanitarian organizations.

Participants in the “Summit on the Summit” set off yesterday on the Lemosho
route and reached the Shira Camp, where they spent their first night at
more than 11,000 feet on Africa’s highest mountain.

After passing through savannah, tropical jungle, alpine pasture, moorland,
desert, snowfields and glacial landscapes, the party is expected to reach
the summit at Uhuru Peak next Tuesday before heading back down the
19,340-foot mountain, according to information provided by the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The party includes actors Jessica Biel and Emile Hirsch, rapper Lupe
Fiasco, conservationist and explorer Alexandra Cousteau, environmentalist
Kick Kennedy, award-winning photographers Michael Muller and Jimmy Chin,
singer Santi White, actress Isabel Lucas, and Elizabeth Gore, executive
director of global partnerships at the UN Foundation.

“The climb isn’t easy,” the official expedition web site points out, noting
that after 10,000 feet the risk of altitude sickness increases and fatigue
sets in.

“The symptoms vary from headache, dizziness and nausea to lethargy and
euphoria, keeping many from reaching the summit. The last day [on the way
up], in sub-zero temperatures and at the highest elevation, will be the

Leading the climb is American musician Kenna, whose father suffered badly
from a water-borne disease while a child in his native Ethiopia.

In addition to raising public awareness about the global clean water
crisis, the climb will also raise funds to be distributed through the UN
Foundation to several groups, including UNHCR, the Children’s Safe Drinking
Water Programme and Water For People and Playpumps International.

The climbers will post blogs, status updates, tweets, photographs and
videos at regular intervals as they progress up the mountain. The public
can also make donations through the web site, sponsoring every foot of

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