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Lessons learned in WASH Response during Urban Flood Emergencies

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) response in urban contexts has been identified by the Global WASH Learning Project as a priority for technical learning in the sector. The increased numbers of earthquakes and cyclones have brought us all closer to urban environments, yet it is recognised that many agencies lack adequate skills to address the complex challenges involved. Urban flooding is one type of emergency that requires a WASH response. Material in the paper is based both on a rapid review of literature, and on outputs from a learning workshop held in Haiti in March 2009. The focus of the Haiti workshop was on WASH responses, with an emphasis on three words: Flooding, Urban, and Technical. This paper identifies various lessons that can be learned from the experiences of relief agency staff when responding to urban flooding emergencies. In addition, these lessons have provided a framework for the development of technical guidance materials to support technical learning in the sector.

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