The DILG-ARMM participated, thru Majaramir Y. Sumail, RIO, in the Managing WaSH in Emergencies Training which was held at Phela Grande Hotel, General Santos City, on September 27-29, 2016. The activity was facilitated by the A Single Drop for Safe Water, Inc.


Also in attendance were other concerned WaSH cluster agencies, such as, from DOH, IPHOs, and ARMM-HEART.

A Single Drop for Safe Water had been working on Institutionalization of capacity within WaSH Cluster. It aimed to increase the effectivity of the local WaSH cluster in emergencies.

The overall objective of the training was for the participants to be capable of being an effective managers of WaSH emergency responses within an overall framework of protection and Gender by specifically: (1) knowing the key Water, Sanitation and Hygiene issues that occur in Emergencies; (2) familiarizing with the WaSH coordination mechanisms in the Philippines; (3) understanding the WaSH techniques, processes and roles that were applied in an emergency; (4) being able to make decision on appropriate WaSH infrastructure and behavior-change activities needed in a particular emergency situation.

On the first day of training, it was introduced that the National WaSH Cluster, led by the DOH through the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Environmental and Occupational Health Office) with UNICEF as the co-lead, started the training program “Managing WaSH in Emergencies” in September 2013. By mid-2015, there had been nine (9) training completed, with participants numbering over 300.

WaSH was a major concern in emergencies. People affected by disasters or displaced by conflict had the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation. It was the role of the government to provide safe and accessible water and sanitation for all. Further, WaSH in emergencies encompassed several concerns, each one had its own goal, in summary:

  • WATER SUPPLY aimed to provide disaster-affected people with safe and adequate water for drinking, cooking, domestic and personal hygiene. 
  • SANITATION aimed to provide access to safe means of excreta disposal and appropriate access to bathing facilities. 
  • VECTOR CONTROL aimed to reduce, if not prevent, people from contracting diseases through exposure to nuisance vector. 
  • SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT aimed to provide the people with an environment free from solid and other wastes through proper segregation, storage, collection, and disposal.
  • DRAINAGE aimed to minimize health and other risks posed by water erosion and standing water of different kinds through provision appropriate drainage near dwelling areas and water distribution points.
  • HYGIENE PROMOTION aimed to promote good personal hygiene in order to protect health, improve health condition, promote dignity of living or enhance the quality of life, and protect the environment.

On the second day, chlorination was discussed. It was stressed that chlorination was the process of adding the element chlorine to water to make it safe for human consumption as drinking water. Also, it was recorded that chlorine was the most widely used disinfectant for water systems because of its effectiveness, cheap cost and availability.

A discussion on water tunkering/trucking in an emergency was lectured as very significant. It eliminated waste disposal problems caused by bottled water. It avoided potentially contaminated local sources. It provided fast delivery of water of big volume. Lastly, it was the less expensive than bottled water. Further, after the lecture on this topic, the participants went actual exposure to water bladder to see its actual use and how it was prepared for use.

A portion of the topic was about the significance of sanitation. It was pointed that it was not only about construction of latrine, but several other interventions: construction or rehabilitation of temporary/semi-permanent latrines with proper drainage; desludging services; sludge treatment; cleaning kit distribution; hygiene promotion specific to behavior change; and, formation of WaSH Committees.

On the third and last day of the program, the lecture focused on hygiene promotion. The major focus of hygiene promotion in an emergency was the prevention of diarrhea through the safe disposal of excreta, effective hand washing, and reducing household drinking water contamination. Moreover, there was the emphasis on the distribution of water and hygiene kits. Water kit reinforced the beneficiaries to practice safe water collection and storage and practice treatment using chlorine solution (Hyposol or Aquatabs), depending on preference. On the other hand, hygiene kit was essential in order for people to practice good hygiene.

The participants, after the overall lecture, were engaged into a group activity of building latrine based on limited resources being provided. They were group into two. The two groups came up with good output based from their strong cooperation, regardless of the limited resources. The aimed was to expose the participants on emergency cases scenario.

It is observed that the training provide significant information which is very useful to emergency situations. Thus, it is recommended that the material information be cascade to the concerned provincial level, including LGUs because they are the frontline in providing basic services to affected public during emergencies.