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close this bookEmergency Sanitation: Assessment and Programme Design (WEDC, 2002, 358 p.)
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View the documentGlossary of terms
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Open this folder and view contentsCase study: Kala Refugee Camp, Luapula Province, Zambia
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Glossary of terms


to empty the contents of a latrine pit or septic tank

Closed setting:

affected site has clear boundaries and population figures are known (e.g. refugee camp)


the appearance of a particular disease in a large number of people in the same period of time


disease transmission from faeces to the human digestive system via the mouth


the physical and/or social condition of being male or female


the absorption of liquid by material, for example when

water is absorbed by the ground


the disposal of solid waste by excavating a hole in the ground, filling this with waste and then covering with soil to fill the hole


a toilet, especially a simple one such as a hole in the ground


the careful organisation of procurement, transportation, storage and distribution of materials and equipment


the number of cases of a particular disease reported within a particular society and within a particular period of time


the number of deaths within a particular society and within a particular period of time

Open defecation:

to defecate outside a latrine, normally in a natural environment

Open setting:

affected site has no clear boundaries such as a normal urban or rural area

Sludge accumulation:

the build up in volume of excreta, normally within a latrine pit or septic tank


relating to the social and cultural practices, beliefs and traditions within a particular society


a person or group of people who have a share or a personal or financial involvement in a programme


the part of a building which is above the ground


the ability of something (e.g. activity, facility or system) to keep operating effectively without negative impact


an insect or animal which carries a disease from one animal or plant to another (particularly humans)


'dirty' water arising from laundry areas, kitchens, bathrooms, etc.