Category Archives: Emergency Sanitation

Emergency WASH Biweekly Update, August 15, 2018


The Global WASH Cluster has a new website. How to Provide Feedback on the Website. Go to the bottom of the home back and you can find the link to the feedback form right below the ‘Contract us’ heading. You can also just send us an email to if that is easier for you.

Emergency & reconstruction situations – Working Group 8 of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance – Register as a SuSanA member to join this working group and its mailing list. The objective of this working group is to combine the knowledge from experts in the fields of sanitation with the knowledge from experts in the field of emergency response and reconstruction. Some of the resources include a Factsheet and Reading List.


Water Supply in a War Zone: A Preliminary Analysis of Two Urban Water Tanker Supply Systems in the Republic of Yemen. World Bank. World Bank, July 2018.
This discussion paper presents assessments of basic features of urban water supply systems in Sana’a and Aden, a detailed profile of the tanker truck service structure, including supply chain mapping, value chain analysis, and an assessment of changes to the sector since the war began. It also covers institutional support structure for the water sector, well-to-consumer supply chain, water quality, well operations, tanker trucks water delivery services, and household water demand.

A humanitarian response to the West African Ebola virus disease outbreak. Journal of International Humanitarian Action, August 2018.
The 2014–2016 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa was of unprecedented magnitude with a total of 28,616 suspected, probable, and confirmed cases reported in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Unique multisectoral partnerships forged between traditional public health actors and humanitarian actors facilitated mutual learning and opened the door to ongoing working relationships that will hasten efficient and effective response to future global public health emergencies.

Are there health hazards from disinfection byproducts in humanitarian water? Findings from a MSF water treatment plant, Palorinya, Uganda. A presentation by Matt Arnold, et al, Médecins Sans Frontières, May 2018.
Water was compliant with WHO standards for total THMs (TTHMs). Emergency treatment methods such as direct chlorination of surface water may present more risk of DBP formation.  The complicated nature and sheer number of identified DBPs make analysis, measurement and standard setting complex.

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Emergency WASH Biweekly Update – July 30, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

The Emergency WASH Google Group will be sharing information with the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance’s Working Group on Emergency & Reconstruction Situations so please check out the Working Group:


Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) Working Group 8 – Emergency & reconstruction situations – The objective of this working group is to combine the knowledge from experts in the fields of sanitation with the knowledge from experts in the field of emergency response and reconstruction.


Exploring menstrual practices and potential acceptability of reusable menstrual underwear among a Middle Eastern population living in a refugee setting. International Journal of Women’s Health, July 2018.
Menstrual hygiene beliefs, behaviors, and practices are mostly consistent with existing literature. An acceptance of the concept of reusable menstrual underwear was expressed, although the perceived benefits of this product did not outweigh customary practices. The use of menstrual underwear as a complimentary product to traditional absorbents was expressed as helpful for promoting dignity.


UNHCR Public Health 2017 Annual Global Overview. UNHCR, July 2018.
The average litres per person per day globally was at 21 litres. Where possible, high yield boreholes coupled with solar energy have been used to provide water to refugees through chlorinated gravity fed distribution systems. An average latrine ratio of 22 persons per latrine was achieved globally, which is just below standard and represents an improvement from 2016.

Management of radioactivity in drinking-water. WHO, 2018.
Management of radioactivity in drinking-water responds to Member States requests for additional guidance to support radionuclide management in drinking-water in emergency and non-emergency situations.

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An Emergency WASH Google Group Update – July 18, 2018

There are currently 164 members in the Emergency WASH Google Group and below is a brief intro from George Yap. We have added a new Emergency WASH In the News feature so please let us know if you find this useful and if you have other suggestions for the biweekly updates.


A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Association between Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Exposures and Cholera in Case–Control Studies. Am Jnl Trop Med Hyg, July 2018.
Although the magnitude of associations was similar among risk factors and among protective factors, improved hygiene demonstrated the greatest reduction in the odds of cholera (OR = 0.34 for observed good hygiene), whereas open defecation most increased the odds of cholera (OR = 5.6). Among the predicted protective factors, neither improved water source nor improved sanitation was associated with cholera.

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An Emergency WASH Update – June 29, 2019

Below is the latest update to the Emergency WASH Google Group that is maintained by the USAID Water Communications and Knowledge Management project. If you would like to become a member of the Group, just send us an email.

Below are links to some 2018 studies and resources on hygiene as well as recent reports and articles on Emergency WASH and humanitarian assistance in general. The bibliography of 2018 cholera studies from the last biweekly update is now a Google document that can be updated and shared so please add new cholera studies that you think should be included:

Recent Publications and Resources on Handwashing/Hygiene in Humanitarian Situations

Behaviour Change for WASH: Policy Brief. SHARE, June 2018. This policy brief documents SHARE’s contribution to understanding behaviour change and associated health impacts. It provides recommendations for researchers and intervention implementers, policy makers and funders.

Menstrual Hygiene Management in Humanitarian Emergencies. IDS, May 2018. A holistic response to MHM is lacking. Despite the importance and omnipresent issue of MHM in any emergency context, and the potential for cross‑sectoral links of MHM within the cluster system, there is a lack of policy and agency guidelines to support these sectors to conduct a holistic MHM response.

WASH activities at two Ebola treatment units in Sierra Leone. PLoS One, May 2018. In particular, this research provides estimates on the amount of chlorine and personal protective equipment required to manage an ETU during a future Ebola epidemic, based on the anticipated size and staffing of the ETU.

Micro-hotspots of Risk in Urban Cholera Epidemics. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, May 2018. These results reveal similar spatiotemporal patterns of cholera cases across epidemics in two African cities. We find clear evidence for zones of increased risk extending at least 200m from the household of a cholera case within the first five days after he/she presents for care, with most elevated risk within the first days after the case and within 100m of the household.

Hygiene in Emergencies. Global Handwashing Partnership, March 2018. This page summarizes key resources related to handwashing in emergency settings.

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2018 studies, reports and news updates on cholera prevention and control

The latest biweekly update contains journal articles, reports, etc. that have been published so far in 2018. Please let us know if you have additional studies and resources that should be added to this list:


Setting priorities for humanitarian water, sanitation and hygiene research: a meeting report. Conflict and Health, June 15, 2018.
In June 2017, the Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) programme of Elrha, convened a meeting of representatives from international response agencies, research institutions and donor organisations active in the field of humanitarian WASH to identify research priorities, discuss challenges conducting research and to establish next steps. Topics including cholera transmission, menstrual hygiene management, and acute undernutrition were identified as research priorities.

Cholera epidemic in Yemen, 2016–18: an analysis of surveillance data. The Lancet Global Health, June 2018.
Our analysis suggests that the small first cholera epidemic wave seeded cholera across Yemen during the dry season. When the rains returned in April, 2017, they triggered widespread cholera transmission that led to the large second wave. These results suggest that cholera could resurge during the ongoing 2018 rainy season if transmission remains active.

Editorial: No end to cholera without basic water, sanitation and hygiene. WHO Bulletin, May 2018.
A shared vision and unanimous agreement among Member States, partners and donors to prioritize broader social and environmental determinants of health, including water, sanitation and hygiene, is needed to end cholera.

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Recent Ebola research – May 30, 2018 updates

We will periodically update this page with Ebola research studies:

May 30, 2018 Updates 


Photo from the World Health Organization

A Method to Test the Efficacy of Handwashing for the Removal of Emerging Infectious Pathogens. Marlene K. Wolfe and Daniele S. Lantagne, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, June 2017.

Selection of a Biosafety Level 1 (BSL-1) surrogate to evaluate surface disinfection efficacy in Ebola outbreaks: Comparison of four bacteriophages. PLoS One, May 2017.

Surface Cleaning and Disinfection: Efficacy Assessment of Four Chlorine Types Using Escherichia coli and the Ebola Surrogate Phi6. Environmental Science & Technology, March 2017.

Handwashing and Ebola virus disease outbreaks: A randomized comparison of soap, hand sanitizer, and 0.05% chlorine solutions on the inactivation and removal of model organisms Phi6 and E. coli from hands and persistence in rinse water. PLoS One, February 2017.

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Ebola in the News

This page will feature recent news articles on the Ebola outbreak:

May 29, 2018 Updates


Photo from the World Health Organization

Children must be at heart of response to Ebola outbreak – Democratic …
4 days ago – Children must be at heart of response to Ebola outbreak News and Press … the risk of transmission in schools, including temperature taking and handwashing.”.

Ebola: How this virus sparked a global health revolution – CNN
3 days ago – “There are two defining epidemics of our time: the AIDS epidemic and Ebola,” said Peter Piot, director at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Past use of disinfectants and PPE for Ebola could inform future …
5 days ago – Data from the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak at two Sierra Leone facilities reveal daily … strictwatersanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and infection prevention control …

Ebola | Ebola virus disease – World Health Organization
3 days ago – Ebola virus disease website: fact sheet, technical guidance, news. … WHO supports Ebolavaccination of high risk populations in the Democratic Republic of the …

What we know about fighting Ebola: A Q&A with expert Dr. Adam …
6 days ago – The global health community is better prepared to face the largest outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease since the 2014-2016 West African epidemic claimed more …

Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo: lessons learned – The Lancet
4 days ago – The Ebola virus outbreak appears to have started in the remote western DR … instructs residents on hand washing as a preventive measure against Ebola in …

Map of the Day: Every Historic Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic …
6 days ago – Today’s map comes from the World Health Organization, which released this graphic to help put into context the current ebola outbreak in the Democratic …