|Natural Disasters - Protecting the Public's Health (PAHO-OPS, 2000, 133 p.)|
|Chapter 10. Planning, Layout, and Management of Temporary Settlements and Camps|
Permanent communities are characterized not only by their buildings and streets but also by their social cohesion. Since people share services and have common needs, mutual obligation systems evolve that regulate behavior in regard to property protection, waste and water disposal, latrine use, and play areas for children. In shantytowns these mechanisms may be inadequate, but in camps they will be lacking entirely. Such lack of social cohesion contributes to the spread of disease (e.g., by failure to use latrines) and makes camp administration more difficult. Adequate and early attention to physical layout will minimize such problems.
Camps should be laid out so that a small cluster of families is grouped around communal services. Access to a set of services (latrines, a water point) should be limited to a fixed group of people, and individual communities within the camp should be small enough to encourage the development of social structures. Many administrative tasks such as latrine maintenance and disease surveillance can be partially delegated to these groups instead of being assigned to an employed workforce. The camp can be expanded with no reduction in the quality of services by adding units at the periphery. Areas must be set aside for administration, reception and administration of camp residents, warehouse facilities, supply distribution sites, and recreation areas.
Grid layouts with square or rectangular housing areas intersected by parallel roads, which were widely used in the past, have the advantages that water, drainage, and power systems can be incorporated easily into the camp plan where land is limited, and they can accommodate high density population. This may also be disadvantageous since it is likely to encourage the spread of disease. Grid camps are relatively unsuitable for family occupation and should be avoided, particularly for long-term use.