X.5 Resilience and Preparedness

Preventive measures help reduce the severity of a disaster and to streamline disaster management. Many emergency situations follow predictable patterns and most disaster prone regions are well known. At the same time disaster and crisis scenarios are becoming increasingly complex and traditional re-active relief interventions are proving insufficient. Disaster prevention or mitigation thus has an important role to play and must be considered by both relief and development actors to address the underlying vulnerabilities and to build capacities to cope better with future shocks. Preventive measures include strengthening resilience, increasing preparedness in case of an acute emergency and disaster risk reduction (see table 3). These are integral parts of both sanitation planning and national, regional and local development strategies.

Table 3: Preventive Measures, Definitions and Implications for Sanitation Infrastructure
  Definition Key Aspects Related to Sanitation Infrastructure
Resilience
Ability of countries, communities, individuals, or organisations that are exposed to disasters, crises and underlying vulnerabilities to manage change.
  • Implementation of robust and durable sanitation infrastructure adapted to local extreme conditions
  • Capacity building on how to build, repair, operate and maintain sanitation infrastructure
  • Hygiene promotion and sensitisation measures
  • Establishing community structures (WASH committees & health clubs)
Preparedness
Precautionary measures to strengthen the ability of the affected population and involved organisations to respond immediately.
  • Contingency planning and emergency preparedness plans including how to deal with wastewater when sewer networks do not function, and how to deal with faecal contamination of water sources
  • Stockpiling of sanitation equipment and availability of materials/infrastructure
  • Emergency services and stand-by arrangements
  • Establishment of support networks among different regions
  • Capacity building and training of volunteers and emergency personnels
  • Strengthening of local structures through community planning and training
Disaster Risk Reduction
All preventive measures (incl. resilience and preparedness) that aim to reduce disaster risksthrough systematic efforts to analyse and reduce the causal factors of disasters.
  • Reducing potential impact of hazard events on sanitation hardware and services (resilience and mitigation)
  • Ensuring a rapid service level and structural recovery of sanitation hardware and services after hazard events (preparedness)
  • Ensuring sanitation system design addresses earlier vulnerabilities (build back better and resilience)
  • Ensuring sanitation services have minimal negative effects on society (do no harm)
A sanitation system is a multi-step process in which sanitation products such as human excreta and wastewater are managed from the point of generation to the point of use or ultimate disposal. It is a context-specific series of technologies and services for the management of these sanitation products, i.e. for their collection, containment, transport, treatment, transformation, use or disposal. A sanitation system comprises functional groups of technologies that can be selected according to context. By selecting technologies from each applicable functional group, considering the incoming and outgoing products, and the suitability of the technologies in a particular context, a logical, modular sanitation system can be designed. A sanitation system also includes the management and operation and maintenance (O & M) required to ensure that the system functions safely and sustainably. The means of safely collecting and hygienically disposing of excreta and liquid wastes for the protection of public health and the preservation of the quality of public water bodies and, more generally, of the environment. An open channel or closed pipe used to convey sewage. See C.3 and C.4 Used water from any combination of domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff/stormwater, and any sewer inflow/infiltration. Waste matter that is transported through the sewer.

Resilience

At its core resilience can be described as the ability of countries, communities, individuals, or organisations that are exposed to disasters, crises and underlying vulnerabilities to manage change. This can be achieved by anticipating, reducing the impact of, coping with and recovering from effects of adversity without compromising long-term prospects. Strengthening resilience requires longer-term engagement and investments. It needs an in-depth analysis of previous emergencies, of underlying causes of vulnerability and of existing human, psychological, social, financial, physical, natural or political assets at different levels of society. The goal is to develop locally appropriate measures that can be incorporated into existing structures and processes to increase capacity and capability of involved stakeholders and their self-organisation potential. Important components to enhance resilience include capacity development, trainings, education, awareness raising, sensitisation and advocacy as well as improving the robustness and durability of implemented sanitation technologies and services.

The means of safely collecting and hygienically disposing of excreta and liquid wastes for the protection of public health and the preservation of the quality of public water bodies and, more generally, of the environment.

Robustness is the ability of a technology to provide a satisfactory outcome in a variable environment. It is important that in emergencies, sanitation technologies be resilient against failure and keep functioning despite disruptions (such as power cuts, water shortages and floods). It is therefore important to think about robustness early in the planning for sanitation provision. Giventhe uncertainties, it is advisable to consider sanitation systems so that they are functional in a range of possible scenarios. For example, flood-proof, raised latrines can avoid sludge overflowing during floods; wastewater treatment plants should have stormwater by-passes. There is no ‘silver bullet’ for planning a robust sanitation option. Each technology has specific strengths and weaknesses depending on the local context and available skills and capacity.

Mixture of solids and liquids, containing mostly excreta and water, in combination with sand, grit, metals, trash and/or various chemical compounds. A distinction can be made between faecal sludge and wastewater sludge. Faecal sludge comes from on-site sanitation technologies, i.e. it has not been transported through a sewer. It can be raw or partially digested, a slurry or semisolid, and results from the collection and storage/treatment of excreta or blackwater, with or without greywater. Wastewater sludge (also referred to as sewage sludge) originates from sewer-based wastewater collection and (semi-)centralised treatment processes. The sludge composition will determine the type of treatment that is required and the end-use possibilities.General term for rainfall runoff collected from roofs, roads and other surfaces. Very often the term is used to refer to rainwater that enters a sewerage system. It is the portion of rainfall that does not infiltrate into the soil.Describes technologies for on-site collection, storage, and sometimes (pre-) treatment of the products generated at the user interface. The treatment provided by these technologies is often a function of storage and is usually passive (i.e. requires no energy input), except a few emerging technologies where additives are needed. Thus, products that are ‘treated’ by these technologies often require subsequent treatment before use and/or disposal. In the technology overview graphic, this functional group is subdivided into the two subgroups: “Collection/Storage” and “(Pre-)Treatment”. This allows a further classification for each of the listed technologies with regard to their function: collection and storage, (pre-) treatment only or both.Refers to the methods through which products are returned to the environment, either as useful resources or reduced-risk materials. Some products can also be cycled back into a system (e.g. by using treated greywater for flushing).A functional group is a grouping of technologies that have similar functions. The compendium proposes five different functional groups from which technologies can be chosen to build a sanitation system: User interface (U), Collection and Storage/Treatment (S), Conveyance (C), (Semi-) Centralised Treatment (T), Use and/or Disposal (U). A sanitation system is a multi-step process in which sanitation products such as human excreta and wastewater are managed from the point of generation to the point of use or ultimate disposal. It is a context-specific series of technologies and services for the management of these sanitation products, i.e. for their collection, containment, transport, treatment, transformation, use or disposal. A sanitation system comprises functional groups of technologies that can be selected according to context. By selecting technologies from each applicable functional group, considering the incoming and outgoing products, and the suitability of the technologies in a particular context, a logical, modular sanitation system can be designed. A sanitation system also includes the management and operation and maintenance (O & M) required to ensure that the system functions safely and sustainably. The utilisation of products derived from a sanitation system. The liquid that has passed through a filter. A sanitation system in which excreta and wastewater are collected and stored or treated on the plot where they are generated. The means of safely collecting and hygienically disposing of excreta and liquid wastes for the protection of public health and the preservation of the quality of public water bodies and, more generally, of the environment. Waste matter that is transported through the sewer. An open channel or closed pipe used to convey sewage. See C.3 and C.4 The physical sewer infrastructure (sometimes used interchangeably with sewage). Used water from any combination of domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff/stormwater, and any sewer inflow/infiltration. The liquid that has passed through a filter. Waste matter that is transported through the sewer. The physical sewer infrastructure (sometimes used interchangeably with sewage).

Durability is the ability of a technology to last a long time without significant deterioration. The longer it lasts, the fewer resources are needed to build replacements and the more resistant technologies are to wear and tear, thus further reducing the operation and maintenance (O & M) costs along with the risks of failure. Technologies should be chosen taking account of local capacities for O & M, repair and the availability of spare parts. It may be necessary in some cases to choose a lower level of service, to avoid having essential equipment that cannot be repaired when it breaks down (e.g. pumps, grinders etc.). To increase the durability of most treatment technologies appropriate pre-treatment needs to be considered.

Preparedness

The Sphere guidelines describe the term preparedness as precautionary measures taken in view of anticipated disaster crisis scenarios to strengthen the ability of the affected population and involved organisations to respond immediately. Preparedness is the result of capacities, relationships and knowledge developed by governments, humanitarian agencies, local civil society organisations, communities and individuals to anticipate and respond effectively to the impact of likely, imminent hazards. People at risk and the responsible organisations and institutions should be able to make all necessary logistical and organisational preparations prior to the potential event and know what to do in case of an emergency. Apart from early warning systems and the development of emergency plans it can include the stockpiling of equipment as well as the availability of potential evacuation plans.

Disaster Risk Reduction and Prevention

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) can be seen as an umbrella term for all preventive measures including those described under resilience and preparedness. It aims to reduce disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyse and reduce causal factors of disasters. Examples of disaster risk reduction include reduced exposure to hazards, reducing the vulnerability of people and property, proper management of land and environment, and improving preparedness and early warning systems. A proper risk analysis forms the basis for adequate DRR measures. It assesses the potential exposure of communities to these risks, the social and infrastructural vulnerability and communities’ capacity to deal with risks. The importance of the DRR approach is being increasingly recognised by the international community. Historically, development actors have not invested significantly into DRR and prevention, whether due to a lack of awareness, a lack of incentives or a lack of emergency-related expertise. In recent years DRR and conflict prevention have therefore turned into cross-cutting issues that are addressed through relief, recovery and development instruments. Non-functioning  or inadequate sanitation services can potentially cause disasters, and hazards in turn can degrade sanitation services, resulting in increased disaster risk. It is therefore inevitable to consider potential disaster risks when setting up or developing sanitation services whether it is in relief, recovery or development.

The means of safely collecting and hygienically disposing of excreta and liquid wastes for the protection of public health and the preservation of the quality of public water bodies and, more generally, of the environment.
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