Tag Archives: floods

Raised latrines survive floods in Bangladesh

Low cost latrines constructed by the Chars Livelihoods Programme (CLP) in Bangladesh performed well in their first real flood test.

After the July 2012 floods, which also hit the CLP programme area in the districts of Jamalpur and Kurigram on the northern Jamuna, only 14% of the low cost latrines were destroyed or unusable. During the flooding, recipients continued to have access to sanitation.

Low cost latrines raised above flood levels

Low cost latrines raised above flood levels. Photo: CLP

Households in CLP districts are raised on earthen plinths 60 cm above the highest known flood level. The Programme ensures access to clean water and sanitation by also raising water points and installing latrines on plinths.

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Thailand, Bangkok: struggling to clear garbage in flood crisis

Garbage piled up on a flooded street in Bangkok, Thailand

Garbage piled up on a flooded street in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Getty Images / WSJ

Industrial parks in Bangkok are being threatened after residents in Bangkok’s northeast demolish government-built levies to release the stagnant, garbage-ridden water that was building up in their neighbourhoods, writes the Wall Street Journal.

Flooded roads are preventing garbage collectors getting to many areas—raising fears over the risk of disease and over the blockage of drains, which is impeding the flow of water into the sea. Bangkok produces about 8,700 tons of rubbish a day—roughly a quarter of Thailand’s total. Added to that figure is the additional trash flowing into the city from northern provinces.

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Pakistan: sanitation crucial to survival for flood victims

Millions remain without proper sanitation in flood-affected Pakistan.

“Sanitation is ‘the invisible problem’ in disaster relief and by highlighting the problem, behaviour change happens,” according to Bill Fellows, the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) global cluster coordinator working with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the WASH cluster lead agency.

Hygiene is four times as important as clean drinking water for preventing diarrheal disease according to research published in The Lancet medical journal [1]. Whilst in flood devastated Pakistan, access to clean drinking water is on the rise, thanks to the efforts of WASH cluster member agencies, with 2.5 million people receiving clean drinking water every day, the attention to sanitation has become critical in preventing disease outbreaks.

UNICEF, in cooperation with the government, is implementing hygiene education in relief camps through a “no open defecation campaign”. “This is based on a system developed in Bangladesh and helps affected communities take a first step to achieve basic sanitation in disaster affected communities”, said Fellows.

In addition, the hygiene education campaign includes teaching flood survivors to build open pit latrines. As part of the flood relief efforts 2,723 emergency latrines have been built, benefitting 40,000 people.

Female health workers and Pakistan Red Crescent volunteers are also on the frontline of hygiene education, which is one of the most critical components in reducing water-borne disease. To date, these volunteers have helped educate almost 750,000 people on the benefits of good hygiene.

To compliment hygiene education, soap and hygiene kits are needed. UNICEF reports 400,000 hygiene kits are in the pipeline along with three million bars of soap.

“It is crucial in disaster response that flood affected communities receive latrines and soap, as well as hygiene education to prevent illness and disease”, said Manuel Bessler, Head of the Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Pakistan.

In addition to water and sanitation flood relief activities, UNICEF and its partners are engaged in an integrated approach to provide humanitarian assistance to millions of flood survivors through health and nutrition, child protection, education and prevention of child trafficking.

[1] The same conclusion can be found in a recent article by Cairncross et al. in the International journal of epidemiology

Read the latest Pakistan Floods WASH-related news on ReliefWeb

Related web site: Global WASH Cluster

Source: ReliefWeb, 14 Sep 2010

Kenya: cholera outbreaks in the north, Coast and Nairobi slums

In early October 2009, at least 29 people died of cholera and hundreds more were being treated for cholera-related symptoms such as acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) in the larger Turkana District in the northwest and in the eastern regions of Garbatulla and Laisamis, say health officials. The regions are not only facing an acute water shortage, due to a prolonged drought, but also have poor latrine coverage.

Cholera has also surfaced in several parts of the Coast in the aftermath of flooding. Coast Provincial Medical Officer Dr Anisa Omar confirmed on 3 November 2009, that 12 people have been admitted at Lamu district hospital after contracting cholera. There were also outbreaks of water-borne diseases in Magarini and Tana Delta district.

Cholera has also killed 11 people in Nairobi. The first case was reported in the sprawling Mukuru kwa Njenga slum. Some 949 people — most of them pregnant women and children under five years — had been treated for cholera and other water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, vomiting and dysentery.

See below two NTVKenya video reports on cholera in Mukuru, which also show the poor sanitary conditions in the slum.

Source: IRIN, 09 Oct 2009 ; Mathias Ringa, Daily Nation / allAfrica.com, 03 Nov 2009 ; Mike Mwaniki, Daily Nation, allAfrica.com, 29 October 2009

Kenya: Long rains raise fears of new cholera cases

New cases of cholera are being recorded amid fears of an increase in the spread of the disease as the long rains start. Already, cases have been reported in 17 districts, according to a senior health official. “At least 176 cases of acute watery diarrhoea [AWD] have been reported in Kipsing [north of the eastern district of Isiolo]; of these, at least three have tested positive for cholera,” Shahnaaz Sharif, the director of public health and sanitation, told IRIN. “Some 1,097 AWD cases have been reported nationally since late 2008, of which 137 have tested positive for cholera,” he said.

[…] “Because of the current drought, residents are using untreated water from boreholes that just three months ago had been submerged,” Titus Mung’ou, Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) communications manager, told IRIN, adding that limited latrine coverage and cross-border interaction had fuelled the spread.

Mung’ou expressed concern that the spread of the disease would be exacerbated should the rains bring floods. In late 2008, floods submerged hundreds of latrines and contaminated water sources in the northeast, with cases of diarrhoea reported.

High water-table levels in some of the affected areas increased the risk of contamination, he said.

The province of Nyanza is also facing its third outbreak of cholera since December 2007, with the districts of Kisumu East and West, Nyando, Rachuonyo, Homa Bay, Migori, Suba and Rongo affected, according to KRCS. Cases have also been reported in Kakamega, in Western Province, and Athi River, near Nairobi.

Mung’ou said the outbreak in Kisumu East was due to the contamination of water sources by municipal and residential waste and a lack of proper drainage. Seepage from latrines into wells was also a risk factor in the Nyanza region.

KRCS and Ministry of Health teams are carrying out water purification and trucking in affected areas.

Source: IRIN, 01 Apr 2009

Bangladesh: Caritas Helps Flood-prone Villagers With Sanitary Facilities, Hygiene Awareness

Samiran Bibi is on the frontline of a Caritas Bangladesh-inspired effort to keep illness at bay in [Tarash], a flood-prone area in northwestern Bangladesh. Each morning the mother of two goes with other members of her Magura Mukundu Dal (village group) to inspect the new toilets in her village in Tarash sub-district, about 150 kilometers northwest of Dhaka.

“Every day we check our village toilets, and see whether the people that use them use soap or ash to clean their hands afterward,” she told UCA News on Dec. 22. They also make sure clean water is on hand.

After two major floods hit the area between July and September in 2007, Caritas Bangladesh launched a special US$2.5-million emergency response program, funded by the U.S.-based Catholic Relief Services, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Caritas […] built 940 new houses, repaired 432 others and installed 2,656 home-based and community latrines. It also drilled 331 new tube wells and examined 2,700 old tube wells for the presence of arsenic or other contaminants in the water, repairing more than 540 of these wells in the process. [T]he houses, toilets and tube wells were constructed on land raised half-a-meter higher than the floodwater level of 2007.

In addition to building these structures, Caritas also [trained] local people like Bibi to [become hygiene promoters]. […] She said her [village] group learned from Caritas about how their former toilet practices [open defecation, overhung latrines] spread germs and disease, [as well as about food hygiene and water treatment].

Caritas officially ended its involvement in the project on 14 Dec 2008.

SourceUCAN, 30 Dec 2008

UNICEF Nepal support helps maintain sanitation and hygiene at relief camps

(…) UNICEF has mobilized 80 hygiene volunteers and helpers in 27 temporary shelters to spread the message on hygiene. They are using hand-held loud speakers to disseminate messages to each family, since almost no one has access to other media such as radios, televisions or newspapers.

To further secure the environment in the camps, UNICEF has supported construction of 400 temporary latrines, 120 tube wells with hand pumps, 100 garbage pits and over 200 bathing spaces for women and adolescent girls.  (…)

Read all UNICEF Press Release