In times of crisis, children face many dangers: They are forced from home, separated from family, deprived of food, barred from school, and exposed to exploitation and violence. In crises involving armed conflict, children are threatened by injury and death. But bullets and bombs are not always the deadliest threats to a child’s life. In protracted conflicts, children younger than 15 are, on average, nearly three times more likely to die from diarrheal disease linked to unsafe water and sanitation than violence directly linked to conflict and war.
For younger children, the impact of unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene is greater: Children under 5 are more than 20 times more likely to die from diarrheal disease linked to unsafe water and sanitation than violence in conflict. In these conflicts – and other emergencies – providing rapid, comprehensive and safe water and sanitation is a matter of life and death. Unfortunately, emergency responses are too often under-resourced, dependent on underdeveloped water and sanitation systems and incapable of addressing complex needs.
This report details how Emergency WASH services are required in areas facing multiple kinds of challenges, outlining the problems, describing solutions, and providing real stories from the field.