Emergency sanitation is the management and technical processes required to provide access to sanitation in emergency situations such as after natural disasters and during relief operations for refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). There are three phases: Immediate, short term and long term. In the immediate phase, the focus is on managing open defecation, and toilet technologies might include very basic latrines, pit latrines, bucket toilets, container-based toilets, chemical toilets.
Providing handwashing facilities and management of fecal sludge are also part of emergency sanitation.
The term “Emergency” is perceived differently by different people and organisations. In a general sense, an emergency may be considered to be a phenomenon originating from a man-made and/or natural disaster which posess a serious, usually sudden threat to the health or welbeing of the affected community which relies on external assistance to easily cope up with the situation.
There are different categories of emergency depending on its time frame, whether it lasts for few weeks, several months or years.
The number of people who are and will be affected by catastrophes (human crisis and natural disasters), which are increasing in magnitude and frequency, is rapidly increasing. The affected people are subjected to such dangers as temporary homelessness and risks to life and health.
To address the problem of public health and the spread of dangerous diseases that come as a result of lack of sanitation and open defecation, humanitarian actors focus on the construction of, for example, pit latrines and the implementation of hygiene promotion programmes.
The supply of drinking water in an urban-setting emergency has been improved by the introduction of standardised, rapid deployment kits.
In the immediate emergency phase, the focus is on managing open defecation, and toilet technologies might include very basic latrines, pit latrines, bucket toilets, container-based toilets, chemical toilets. The short term phase might also involve technologies such as urine-diverting dry toilets, septic tanks, decentralized wastewater systems.
The provision of sanitation programmes is usually more challenging than water supply as it provides a limited choice of technologies. This is exacerbated by the overwhelming and diverse needs of WASH.
Challenges with excreta disposal in emergencies include:
Building Latrines in areas where pits cannot be dug, desludging latrines, no-toilet options and the final treatment or disposal of the fecal sludge.
Weak community participation and finding hygiene promotion designs that are suitable for a given context to make the WASH interventions sustainable.
Newly arriving IDP or refugee populations can usually only be settled in less than ideal ares, such as land that is prone to regular flooding or which is very dry and with rocky ground. This makes the provision of safe sanitation facilities and other infrastructure very difficult.
In long running emergencies, the safe decommissioning or desludging of previously quickly built sanitation facilities can also become a serious challenge.
Humanitarian actors need to understand the importance of better preparation and resilience and the need for exit strategies and have consideration on the environment.
Civil defense, civil defence (see spelling differences) or civil protection is an effort to protect the citizens of a state (generally non-combatants) from military attacks and natural disasters. It uses the principles of emergency operations: prevention, mitigation, preparation, response, or emergency evacuation and recovery. Programs of this sort were initially discussed at least as early as the 1920s and were implemented in some countries during the 1930s as the threat of war and aerial bombardment grew. It became widespread after the threat of nuclear weapons was realized.
Since the end of the Cold War, the focus of civil defense has largely shifted from military attack to emergencies and disasters in general. The new concept is described by a number of terms, each of which has its own specific shade of meaning, such as crisis management, emergency management, emergency preparedness, contingency planning, emergency services, and civil protection.
In some countries, civil defense is seen as a key part of “total defense”. For example, in Sweden, the Swedish word totalförsvar refers to the commitment of a wide range of resources of the nation to its defense – including to civil protection. Respectively, some countries (notably the Soviet Union) may have or have had military-organized civil defense units (Civil Defense Troops) as part of their armed forces or as a paramilitary service.