Sanitary Guidelines for Camps and Settlements

"Sanitation" is defined in this guide as all activities involved in proper water supply management and excreta and solid waste disposal.

Mounting a sanitation system in shelters and camps must not only involve the use of simple engineering techniques but consider social and cultural factors at the site of the intervention as well as the costs.

It is important to establish the necessary coordination with the institutions responsible for basic sanitation (municipios, civil defense, ministry of health, water and sewerage companies, and others).

It is essential that a rapid assessment of the situation be conducted to establish a sanitation assistance plan. Below is a breakdown of activities that must be implemented in the plan.

1. Water

Water quality is important for preventing the spread of disease--i.e. diarrheal disease, parasitic infections, typhoid fever, and epidemics, such as cholera, that affect the health of the population. The microorganisms that cause these illnesses are transmitted by the oral-fecal route, either directly or through water (including ice), milk, food, or hands contaminated with excreta. Vectors (insects, rodents, etc.) can also play an active role in this process.

1.1. What to do

1.1.1 If there is a regular supply of water:

1.1.2. If there is no regular supply of water:

1.1.3. In both cases:

1.2. Water disinfection system:

Simple procedures for disinfecting water:

1.3. What not to do

2. Excreta

Improper excreta disposal contaminates soil and water sources. It also often serves as a breeding ground for certain species of flies and mosquitoes, giving them the opportunity to lay their eggs and multiply or to feed and transmit the infection. It also attracts domestic animals and rodents who carry fecal matter on them and with it, potential diseases. Furthermore, this situation usually creates unsightly areas and disagreeable odors.

Bacteria, parasites, and worms that live in excrement cause disease, such as diarrheal diseases, intestinal parasitic infections, hepatitis, and typhoid fever. Use of sanitation services protects health, prevents disease, and protects surface and ground water.

The goal of sanitary excreta disposal is to isolate excrement so the infectious agents in it cannot reach a new host. The method selected for a given area or region will depend on many factors, including local geology and hydrogeology, the communities’ culture and preferences, the materials available locally, and the cost.

2.1 What to do

2.2 What not to do

3. Solid waste

Solid waste may be refuse, manure, or animal cadavers. There is a correlation between improper solid waste disposal and the incidence of vector-borne diseases. As a result, arrangements must be made to collect, store, and dispose of refuse and manure.

3.1 What to do

3.2. What not to do

Contact

Department of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief

Tel: (202) 974-3434

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