Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Water & Sanitation

In eight out of the past ten years, there has been drought somewhere in the Horn of Africa, affecting nearly 70 million people. Indeed, the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia suffer from water scarcity on an almost annual basis. In this context, water trucking has played a pivotal role in addressing basic water needs. It is a coping mechanism during ‘typical’ dry seasons, based on existing private sector water trucks and vendors who sell water to those who are able to pay for it. In times of drought, direct water trucking is a common relief…
Poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), whilst not the root cause of violence, can exacerbate the vulnerability of women and girls to violence. Men and boys, people of other gender or sexual identities or other marginalised groups can also sometimes be at risk. As WASH practitioners working in humanitarian and development contexts, we are often aware of the anecdotal but regular examples of incidents of violence in relation to WASH. However, we often do not appreciate the scale of the problem, why it happens or what, if anything, we can or should do about it. In order to…
As of September 2013, the crisis in Syria had seen over half a million Syrian refugees flee to Jordan, the vast majority of them (some 400,000) living in rented accommodation in host communities. This influx – equivalent to 5% of Jordan’s population – is placing increasing pressure on service provision and infrastructure, including water. An integrated needs assessment carried out by Oxfam GB in March 2013 found that, while the majority of refugees in host communities can access water through the municipal supply system, the cheapest source of water, this is intermittent and unreliable, and many are forced to buy…
Fragility, conflict and processes of state transformation can be challenging contexts for basic service provision by humanitarian agencies. Globally, practitioners are becoming more concerned with understanding the impact of service delivery on conflict, fragility and state-building – for example through the application of the ‘Do No Harm’ framework or forms of conflict analysis. Policymakers and donors increasingly ask whether service delivery programmes can do more to help build peace and the capacity of the state in the longer term. However, while many contributions are asserted, there is little rigorous evaluation to test the impact of service delivery on peace-building and…
In November 2011, fighting in Blue Nile State in Sudan led to the flight of some 25,000 refugees to Maban County, in Upper Nile State in South Sudan, where they were settled in two refugee camps, first at Doro and then, from December, at Jamam. More continued to arrive over the subsequent months. Six months later, in May 2012, a second wave of 35,000 refugees arrived, in very bad condition with some dying of dehydration from their journey. After an initial period in transit camps en route, most of this second wave was moved to Jamam camp; new camps were…
In recent decades the drylands of the Horn of Africa have become one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world. Drought in particular affects more people, more frequently than any other disaster. Drought periods were not always so disastrous but, combined with the region’s underlying economic, social and environmental vulnerability, the impacts upon dryland inhabitants are extreme. Despite calls for greater investment in preparedness, early response and long-term resiliencebuilding, the 2011 drought crisis in the region illustrates how this has not yet been translated into reality. It is an intuitive belief that investment in early response and resilience-building in…
On 10 January 2010 Oxfam GB’s global humanitarian team spent the day reviewing our current approaches to humanitarian response in urban areas. We concluded that the most significant challenge we could possibly face would be a major earthquake in a densely populated urban area. We felt we needed to boost our capacity and understanding of what sort of assistance might be needed in preparation for such an event. Less than 48 hours later the earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, eventually leaving up to 220,000 dead and 1.5 million homeless. Within hours Oxfam’s team in Haiti was responding despite massive personal loss, and…
Zimbabweis facing an extraordinary and multidimensional crisis. An estimated three million Zimbabweans have crossed the Limpopo river into South Africa as a matter of survival; more than three-quarters of the remaining population of nine million face serious food shortages; maternal mortality has tripled since the mid-1990s; a cholera epidemic has infected over 90,000 people, killing over 4,000; one in five adults are HIV positive, and one person dies every four minutes from AIDS; 94% of the population is officially unemployed; and thousands were beaten and intimidated by government security and paramilitary forces during last year’s elections. Political instability and mismanagement…
In many of the zones where humanitarian response is needed, plasmodium falciparum – the deadly form of malaria – is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Almost a third of the one million malaria deaths annually occur in emergency settings, among people made vulnerable by lack of food, shelter or adequate health care. Although the disease has been eradicated in the West, it still threatens 40% of the world’s people, the vast majority of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. Africa is thought to lose as much as $12 billion every year as a result of the costs associated with treatment…
Vietnam’s Mekong Delta area suffers from annual flooding, which is typically slow-onset, and inundates large areas. Floodwaters stay for up to two months before slowly receding. The Vietnamese government’s disaster-management strategy for the areas has been to live with these floods. Residential clusters have been developed near highways and river dykes, and families living in low-lying villages are being relocated to these areas. However, many of these residential clusters lack important water and sanitation (watsan) facilities. To address these needs, Oxfam GB and the Dong Thap Province People’s Committee implemented a watsan public health promotion project in Dong Thap Province…
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