Case Study – Emergency Relief Services

Emergency Relief Services

MEK consultants have tremendous experience in the implementation of water and sanitation intervention under acute emergency relief situations, where urgent measures are required to protect human life and health. We have the ability, the experience and have conducted rapid assessments under different emergency relief settings including:

  1. Population displacement into arid areas;
  2. Population displacement into areas of abundance surface water;
  3. Population displacement into hilly and mountainous areas;
  4. Resident population affected by drought; and
  5. Emergency water and sanitation interventions in peri-urban and urban communities.

Our consultants are quite familiar with the different emergency operating environments and therefore well positioned to conduct rapid needs assessment upon which contingency plans will be developed. Our emergency water and sanitation programs are designed to ensure the availability of adequate supply of potable water; and, the safe and hygienic disposal of human excreta, solid wastes, wastewater and the control of disease vectors within the shortest possible time.

Our first step will usually entail the identification of leaders within the displaced populations, and quickly assist them to form water and sanitation committees to mobilize the affected people to get involved in the implementation of the water, hygiene and sanitation activities.  Water and sanitation facilities constructed in emergency situations will require maintenance to ensure their sustainability. The newly formed water and sanitation committees will ultimately assume the management and the operation and maintenance of these newly constructed facilities; and also take the responsibility for the promotion of good hygiene and sanitation practices within their new settlements.

Information derived from our rapid assessments are used to determine the immediate hardware requirements such as drilling equipment and hand-dug well construction tools. Furthermore, our consultant use the assessment results to evaluate software concerns such as population acceptance and usage of the newly constructed water and sanitation infrastructure, traditional beliefs that may likely impact the patronizing of the facilities and the gender aspects of water collection and usage. In designing our emergency interventions, the factors below will always be carefully evaluated:

Water Supply

  1. Reliability of current water supply to meet the required need in the displaced settlements;
  2. Available water sources amenable for quick development;
  3. Available water for short-term and long-term usage;
  4. Assessment results of  chemical and microbiological quality of existing and potential water supply sources; and
  5. Water treatment options if deemed relevant.

Hygiene and Sanitation

  1. Current solid waste management practices and their effectiveness in preventing diseases within the settlements;
  2. Personal hygiene and environmental sanitation practices within the population and if modification of these practices will be required; and
  3. Likely vector-borne diseases and means to control potential traits from them.

Also, in the assessment, selection and development of the appropriate water source, we carefully evaluate several factors including:

  1. The immediate, seasonal and long-term water requirements by the displaced population;
  2. Quality of current and likely future water demand;
  3. Available resources and logistical constraints;
  4. Hydrogeological setting in cases of groundwater resources development;
  5. Ease of operation and maintenance of the facilities to be installed; and
  6. Accessibility of the water sources, especially in war-torn regions.

On several occasions, MEK consultants have met and exceeded the acute potable water needs and hygiene and sanitation requirements under various emergency relief scenarios by performing the following activities:

Water Supply

  1. Increasing potable water output through the deepening of boreholes and hand-dug wells;
  2. Treating surface water sources;
  3. Creating new water sources through the drilling of new boreholes or construction of new hand-dug wells;
  4. Rain harvesting;
  5. Developing and piping spring water sources to settlements; and
  6. Relocating the displaced population closer to more prolific and reliable water sources.

Hygiene and Sanitation

  1. Designing programs to isolate and contain human excrements in a manner acceptable to them; and
  2. Ensuring that disease-carrying organisms are contained and effectively managed.

We have constructed several water points including hand-dug wells, protected springs and mechanized drilled wells on some of the most severe humanitarian projects worldwide; in countries such as the Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Rwanda.

As part of our commitment to ensuring program sustainability, MEK consultants always offer training in the appropriate operation and maintenance of the newly constructed water and sanitation facilities within the new settlements.

MEK consultants will be able to provide similar assistance at very short notices.

Case Study – Emergency Relief Services