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close this bookEmergency Management (United Nations Children's Fund, 390 p.)
close this folderWorkshop Session
View the documentSession 0: Opening Session
View the documentSession 1: Course Introduction*
View the documentSession 2: Perceptions of Emergencies
View the documentSession 3: Simulation*
View the documentSession 4: Principles of Emergency Management
View the documentSession 5: Early Warning & Pre-Disaster Planning
View the documentSession 6: Assessment
View the documentSession 7: Programme Planning
View the documentSession 8: Water & Sanitation
View the documentSession 9: Health
View the documentSession 10: Food and Nutrition
View the documentSession 11: Media Relations
View the documentSession 12: Supply and Logistics
View the documentSession 13: Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances
View the documentSession 14: International Relief System
View the documentSession 15: Funding
View the documentSession 16: Key Operating Procedures
View the documentSession 17: Applications of Emergency Manual and Handbook
View the documentSession 18: Training of Trainers

Session 8: Water & Sanitation

Learning Objectives

- To identify problems/needs for water supply in an emergency situation.

- To describe the causes for insufficient and unsafe water supply.

- To be aware of practical and expedient measures to provide minimum water supplies.

- To recognize hygiene and sanitation problems/needs, their causes and possible interventions.

- To understand the inter-relationship between water supply, sanitation and hygiene on one side and the health of the individual and community as a whole on the other side.

- To define UNICEF's role, objectives and specific programme interventions in the area of water and sanitation in emergency situations.

Learning Points


- In different situations, review the possible problems/needs:

a) Insufficient safe water for domestic and hygiene purposes
b) Lack of water for animals and irrigation

- What causes water scarcity in emergencies - making it different from endemic needs?

- Causes of water contamination, rural/urban, natural vs. man-made disasters

- Priorities for intervention for UNICEF; what can NGOs and others do? Often what is required is a feasibility approach rather than an attempt to meet all needs.

- Assessment of water supplies and estimating water requirements and budgeting for them.

- Specific objectives of UNICEF's intervention

a) Ensure availability of safe water for hygiene and domestic use

b) Ensure availability and efficient use of water for household and community-level food production

- Detailed review of programme interventions, their cost-effectiveness, technical requirements (potential pitfalls) and time frames for different interventions

- Linkages between emergency action


- Possible needs/problems may arise from:

a) Contamination of water supplies and equipment
b) Proliferation of disease-bearing insects and rodents
c) Inadequate personal and domestic hygiene

- Causes of above

- Priorities:

a) Prevent spread of disease
b) Provide means of reasonable personal hygiene

- Possible programme interventions. Appropriate technology/innovations and lessons learned.

Possible Learning Methods

- Presentation
- Reviews of case studies or evaluation reports from the region

Required Reading

- UNICEF, "Assisting in Emergencies", Chapter 10.
- UNICEF, 'Field Manual, Book E. Sections 6.4 and 6.5.

Supplementary Reading

- DMC, Water and Sanitation in Refugee Camps, Chapter 1.
- UNICEF, "Assisting in Emergencies", Annex 16-23.

Speakers' Preparation Aids

- Leif Rosenhall, "Emergency Water Interventions", Summaries of case studies.


Speaker’s Aid

TITLE: Emergency Water Interventions-Case Study Summary
AUTHOR: Leif Rosenhall




Topic: Establishment of a contingency plan to cope with anticipated influx of drought victims to eastern Sudan from Ethiopia.

Country: Sudan


- Growing population of eastern villages/towns due to influx of Ethiopian drought victims resulting in over utilized water supplies.

- An anticipated growth of 50,000 people to live in towns/camps designed for 5,000 people

Lessons learned:

- UNICEF, being the principal water supply organization in Sudan, took the initiative to establish a contingency plan in 1982.

- The plan consisted of 4 basic elements:

(a) Drilling of tubewells using UNICEF procured drilling equipment (Low-weight, high efficiency)
(b) Installation of India Mark II Handpumps
(c) Train caretakers in maintenance
(d) Construction of community latrines

- The plan was agreed upon between UNICEF, other UN agencies and the Government of the Sudan. Hence, a contingency plan was established in case the situation would go worse.

- Towards the middle of 1983 the situation in the eastern towns of Sudan had further aggravated. At the same time, Sudan itself was badly affected by the drought.

- By the end of 1983 UNICEF had diverted a few drilling rigs to the problem area, and with the speed of 6-8 tubewells per week the situation became manageable.

- To divert drilling rigs from an ongoing drilling program to a totally different part of the country is a major undertaking considering the bureaucracy involved. Without the contingency plan agreed upon in advance many more people would have died.

Prepared by:

Leif Rosehall
Senior Project Officer
UNICEF Rangoon


Topic: Disaster Preparedness in Burma

Country: Burma


1. Disasters most encountered are due to fires, occasionally cyclonic storms and floods.

(a) Fires: The majority of houses are constructed in timber, bamboo and thatch. Due to the nature of construction material it is usual for an outbreak of fire to cause widespread destruction invariably rendering the victims completely destitute. More than 75% of disasters occurring in Burma are caused by fires, normally in congested, low-income (slum) areas.

(b) Cyclonic Storms and Floods: 'With a coastline of approximately 1,200 miles, Burma is often exposed to storms and cyclones during the period of south west monsoon from May to October. These climatic disturbances usually penetrate densely populated areas in the hinterland and immediately beyond with destruction of property, crops and cattles.

2. Bureaucracy in Burma makes it difficult for the Government to request for emergency assistance.

3. Long leadtime for supplies and equipment to arrive.

Experience/Lessons learned:

1. Burma Red Cross Society works closely with the Department of Relief and Resettlement (DRR) to cope with disasters of above nature.

2. UNICEF has since 1981 expressed special interest in stockpiling disaster relief stores in warehouses to facilitate their Immediate issue to victims almost????????

3. Agree in advance on who is in charge once a disaster happens.

4. Establish a core Emergency Management Group to allow for fastest possible action, with members from relevant ministries and international agencies.

Prepared by:

Leif Rosenhall
Senior Project Officer
UNICEF Rangoon



Topic: Emergency Advisory Service to the Government of North Yemen following the December 1982 Earthquake.

Country: North Yemen


1. Short Term (0-6 months)

- Organize water supply in temporary camps accommodating several hundred thousand villagers.
- Organize excreta disposal facilities in the camps.
- Organize solid waste disposal in the camps.

2. Intermediate Term (6-12 months)

- Regain the confidence of the villagers
- Repair existing damaged water supplies at the village level to allow the villagers to return home
- Rehabilitate systems damaged at the sources (springs) due to ground shearing
- Repair latrines

3. Long Term (12-24 months)

- Invest in new 'safe' systems
- Establish a water/sanitation master plan.

Lessons learned:

1. In vulcanic areas or areas with seismic activity, always maintain a contingency plan.

2. Have international agencies (already established in the country) to agree in advance to the contingency plan. Valuable time was lost trying to convince international agencies for emergency funds once the short term plan was prepared.

3. Agree in advance on who is in charge once a disaster happens.

4. Establish a core Emergency Management Group to allow for fastest possible action, with members from relevant ministries and international agencies.

Prepared by:

Leif Rosenhall
Senior Project Officer
UNICEF Rangoon


Day _______________
Session ____________

1. In your view, what were the key points learned in this session?

2. Comment on the application of these within UNICEF and your situation.

3. Suggest any additional critical points that should have been covered.

4. Do you have comments on the suggested reading?

Suggest any additional information sources for sessions of the day.
Case Studies:

5. Comment on the learning methodology (lectures, group work, films) used in the session.