Water, Sanitation And Hygiene

Key Messages

  • Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services must meet basic needs. Providing these services in sufficient quantity and quality is urgent for people to survive, stay in good health, and maintain dignity. Up to 40 per cent of mortality in the first phases of an emergency is related to diarrhoeal disease. Therefore, WASH services are among the most vital and very first services provided in a camp. 
  • Sufficient water must be available for drinking, cooking, personal hygiene and domestic use. Water treatment and disinfection are necessary to ensure water is safe both at source and when used. Good sanitation facilities must be culturally appropriate and safe for use by both women and men at all times, day or night. Hygiene should be promoted through clear and easily understandable messages. Ensuring sufficient water quantity, sanitation and hygiene should be regarded as equally important in preventing illnesses and epidemics. 
  • The success and effectiveness of WASH interventions is highly dependent upon the participation of the camp population, the Camp Management Agency and other nearby water users. Failure to adequately involve representatives from different user groups may compromise health, the secure usage and proper maintenance of WASH infrastructure and reduce overall effectiveness of humanitarian assistance. 
  • WASH service providers are usually in charge of assessment, design, implementation and maintenance of WASH interventions in camps. As with other services WASH interventions need to be monitored and coordinated by the Camp Management Agency. Agencies need to work hand-in-hand and clearly communicate their roles and responsibilities to the displaced community and national authorities. 
  • Sphere standards and WASH indicators must be respected in order to ensure displaced persons’ rights to live in safety and dignity. They also help to measure the impact and effectiveness of humanitarian interventions. At the onset of WASH response operations, the setting of indicators to achieve standards must be addressed. Coordination and agreement on indicators is typically carried out at the national level by the WASH and the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) clusters, and in consultation with relevant authorities, the displaced population and WASH service providers.