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Excreta disposal in emergencies: Bag and Peepoo trials with internally displaced people in Port-au-Prince

After a series of earthquakes devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on 12 January 2010, safe excreta disposal became an urgent priority. To mainstream innovative approaches to sanitation within the realities of urban humanitarian response, Oxfam GB undertook a trial from April to May 2010, of standard bag and Peepoo excreta disposal systems in two IDP settlements. Trial results demonstrate that with proper collection and removal, both bags and Peepoos are viable excreta disposal options in emergencies. A reduction was seen in ‘flying toilets’, open defecation and user reports on diarrhoea in both settlements. For in-home use, the Peepoo was preferred over bags, 84 per cent to 55 per cent (χ2 = 6.15, p=0.013) based on its ability to contain odour. Key programmatic recommendations include contingency planning for disaster-prone areas and further analysis of cost effectiveness and phase-out points for bag excreta disposal systems. Additionally, the Peepoo size should be adjusted to be more widely applicable in diverse emergency settings.

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