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WASH in Emergencies
What is your role in your CO?
I am the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. The CARE PNG Country Office has been working hard over the past few years to improve our emergency response preparedness and we have been able to conduct a number of training and workshop opportunities to help staff feel more confident to respond when disaster strikes.
How did you become interested in emergency WASH issues?
In most disasters and emergencies, clean water, proper sanitation and good hygiene practice are key to staying healthy. I have seen this in many emergencies, including in Indonesia post-tsunami, in Sudan, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea. So it seems natural to want to learn more and respond better in this critical area. We recently had Jason Snuggs come to doncut a WASH in Emergencies training, which really taught us a lot about the options we can use when responding to WASH emergencies.
What are some of the challenges your region faces in respect to emergency WASH?
In Papua New Guinea, many areas still have relatively low levels of access to good sanitation and hygiene practices, which often has negative effects on their water supply. Most people live in rural areas and disease outbreaks are common when there is either too much water, often resultingin floods, or not enough, reducing access to clean water for drinking and washing. Contaminated water is a challenge to respond properly. Also, PNG is a rugged country, with few good roads and many remote villages. Access to many places affected by disease outbreaks is difficult and often expensive.
Tell us about a particularly successful emergency WASH project your CO has implemented. What were the outcomes of this project and how did you overcome project challenges?
In 2009 we responded to a diarrhoeal outbreak which had affected a significant number of people in one of our primary program areas in Eastern Highlands Province. There were significant challenges, due to the remote location and the number of people affected. We worked in partnership with Government and other NGO partners, and by dividing up the different tasks and combining resources, we were able to mount an effective response. Now, in 2013, we have responded to two smaller disease outbreaks similar to those in 2009 and have used the practice of partnership with the Provincial and District Government Departments to again respond quickly and with complementary resources to quickly provide medical supplies and positive health and hygiene messages to the affected populations.
Please share with us one WASH resource or WASH technology which you may think other CO's WASH staff might find useful:
The most useful resources we use are the CARE Emergency WASH staff - Nick Brooks (Asia-Pacific WASH Advisor) and Jason Snuggs. They are always providing great support and advice, both in preparation and for our responses. I also like to use the WASH focused websites such as the
CARE WASH in Emergencies Wiki
WaterAid's Inclusive WASH page
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