Emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) is a critical component of USAID’s humanitarian assistance for vulnerable populations, who are much more susceptible to diseases related to inadequate sanitation and water supplies.
USAID responds to emergency WASH needs through the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, including the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), responsible for leading and coordinating the U.S. Government’s response to disasters overseas, and the Office of Food for Peace, responsible for leading the U.S. Government's international food assistance efforts. Combined, these two offices ensure that emergency and life-saving WASH needs of vulnerable populations are met in disaster, conflict, and early recovery operations. Where appropriate, emergency WASHconnects to, supports, or aligns with the work that USAID will carry out under its Water and Development Plan to increase water and sanitation access, and is an important complementary result.
- USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) – OFDA is responsible for leading and coordinating the U.S. Government’s response to disasters overseas and responds to an average of 65 disasters in more than 50 countries every year. The latest OFDA Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Sector Update provides a description of OFDA efforts to support WASH programs in more than 40 countries.
- Global WASH Cluster (GWC) – The GWC was formed in 2006, building upon the successes of an existing WASH humanitarian sector working group. The GWC is an open and formal platform for humanitarian WASH actors to work together and now consists of 76 members. Some resources on the GWC website include the 2018 Mid-Year Report, January–June 2018, news and events, and additional information.
- 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. Resources on the website include a factsheet, a library, and the report, Preferences for Accessing Emergency WASH Knowledge.
- WHO – Environmental health in emergencies – This website section has links to WHO reports and other resources on Ebola, cholera, household water treatment, technical notes, etc.
- Elhra – Evidence and Co-ordination for WASH – The demand for a WASH research agenda has recently increased, reflecting the desire to fill the gaps in evidence required for effective and efficient humanitarian interventions. This demand led to our R2HC programme convening a meeting in June last year, bringing together fourteen WASH experts representing international response agencies, research institutions and donor organisations active in the field of humanitarian WASH.
- EAWAG—Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Emergencies – The Strategic Environmental Sanitation Planning Group is leading various efforts to support the humanitarian sector in terms of emergency WASH. Resources include the online course Introduction to Public Health Engineering in Humanitarian Contexts.
- Emergency WASH Google Group – The Global WASH Cluster and USAID manages this information sharing forum. Its purpose is to provide group members with current research, upcoming events, etc. related to WASH issues in emergency situations.
- WASH EM Improving Handwashing behavior change programs in humanitarian crises. A software-based decision-making tool that helps humanitarian actors design rapid, evidence-based and context-specific hygiene programs.