© UNICEF/HQ04-0940/ SHEHZAD NOORANI
A boy in Karare camp for displaced people in Nyala, Darfur brings a little water with him into the latrine.
Clean water and basic sanitation vital for the future.
Iraq -Water and Sanitation Relief
Major health risks due to inadequate excreta disposal after disasters arise following damage to existing sanitation systems or when large numbers of people are displaced. A rapid assessment of damage and needs is required to decide what emergency actions to take. When sections of the population can no longer use their toilets, public facilities may need to be provided, by allowing access to schools, community centers, etc., or by setting up temporary public toilets. Simple drop-hole latrines can be placed over open inspection covers, allowing excreta to drop straight into a sewer, if the sewer is still in operation and sufficiently flushed with sewage. If not, then water tankers can be used to flush them one or more times per day. Storm drains can also be used for this purpose, but only after careful consideration of the environmental risks. In extreme situations, it may be necessary, as a temporary measure, to discharge sewage directly into a river or the sea, or to hold it in a safe, isolated place. If this is done, the public must be informed, and any places used for this purpose should be fenced off.
Environmental Health in Emergencies and Disasters: A Practical Guide, This guide to sanitation in natural disaster summarizes essential aspects of environmental health management in disasters, including measures to reduce the impact of disasters on water supply and sanitation facilities. WHO 2003. Link>> Sanitation Chapter [pdf]
The Challenge in Disaster Reduction for the Water and Sanitation Sector
This publication draws attention to the importance of ensuring that water and sanitation systems remain fully operational in the aftermath of natural disasters. PAHO/WHO, Unicef, ISDR, IFRC, 2006. [pdf]
WHO Fact Sheets and Frequently Asked Questions for Environmental Health in Emergencies and Disasters Link>>