Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sanitation in Haiti Disaster - Buckets of Beneficence

Sanitation can be a great killer in the aftermath of earthquakes.

Most relief organizations focus on other areas (delivery food, water, medical supplies, etc). Preparations are now being made for large tent housing facilities to accommodate the many homeless after the Haiti disaster. Experience from other tent city disaster scenarios suggest that unless provided for right from the start, basic sanitation and collection of wastes can cause spread of disease and can lead to many follow on deaths. It would be wise to implement an immediate sanitation program that couples the distribution of food and water with the collection of waste.


Distribute 5-gal plastic buckets to all families in the emergency tent camp.

Request that each family use the buckets to collect wastes and at least once a day visit the local latrine and dump out the bucket while receiving from a hired sanitation monitor a stamp on a food distribution chit good for food and water that day.

Under normal conditions, there should be a coupling, for the purpose of good sanitation practice, of daily dumping of the contents of the waste bucket in the latrine with a subsequent issuance of food and water. Use of the plastic buckets helps prevent waste collecting right next to the tents and then children getting sick from playing too near the wastes.


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