Frequently asked questions in case of emergencies
The information below gives responses to questions that are likely to be frequently asked during an emergency. They are divided into four categories — Health risks linked to drinking-water and sanitation; health risks due to stagnant water; immediate actions that should be taken in respect of water, hygiene, and sanitation; and the nature of WHO's response to the emergency.
Health risks: Drinking-water and sanitation
- What actions are most urgent in relation to water, sanitation and health?
- Water, sanitation and hygiene during an emergency
- Greatest drinking-water and sanitation dangers to human health
- Are there any risks which may become increasingly acute as the time since a disaster evolves?
- What is the minimum quantity of water needed?
- What are good indications that water is safe?
- Should all water used for domestic purposes be treated?
- Are there disease risks from dead bodies and what should be done for safe disposal?
- What are the health risks related to overcrowding?
Health risks: stagnant water
- Where is the risk of malaria most acute and what should be done?
- What are the health risks related to stagnant water?
- Are there different health risks linked to fresh and brackish (salty) water?
- Where is the risk of dengue fever most acute and what should be done?
- Where is the risk of Japanese Encephalitis most acute and what should be done?
Water treatment at household level and on a large scale
- What are the options of getting safe water to people in affected areas?
- How can personal hygiene be maintained in difficult circumstances?
- What should people who have no access to sanitation facilities do and how can you minimize risk?
- Is waste management a priority in such precarious situations?
Recent WSH publications
A practical guide to auditing water safety plans
Health care facilities and waste related publications
Water sanitation and hygiene for accelerating and sustaining progress on neglected tropical diseases
Progress on sanitation and drinking water
Sanitation safety planning
GLAAS 2014 findings