In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Herat Province, Afghanistan, it is crucial to prioritize water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) practices to safeguard the health and well-being of affected communities. This guide provides detailed information and practical advice on WASH, ensuring access to clean water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene practices.
By following these guidelines, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from the risks of diseases and promote a healthier environment during the recovery phase.
1. Understanding WASH and Ensuring Safe Practices
1.1 Protecting Vulnerable Individuals
People affected by the earthquake may be in a vulnerable situation, including the risk of sexual exploitation and abuse. It is essential to be aware that no one working with affected communities should ever demand payment or favors. Report any such incidents immediately.
1.2 Transparency in WASH Services
You have the right to know about the WASH services you are receiving. Those responsible for providing assistance should be able to inform you about the specific services available and answer any questions you may have.
1.3 Sanitation Practices
As the earthquake may have destroyed sanitation facilities, it is important to use a latrine or cover open defecation if latrines are being constructed. Maintaining proper sanitation practices is crucial for preventing the spread of diseases.
1.4 Hand Hygiene
Given the vulnerable situation caused by the earthquake, it is vital to prioritize hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water after defecation, before eating, and at other critical times to reduce the risk of disease transmission.
2. Active Participation and Safety Measures
2.1 Inclusive Decision-Making
You should be consulted before constructing or improving existing toilets, bathing facilities, or water points. This consultation process should involve women, adolescent girls, older people, people with disabilities, men, and adolescent boys. Understand that the views of children are valuable but consult them with care and ensure their protection.
2.2 Safe Drinking Water
Water supplied through trucks is chlorinated and safe for drinking. Ensure you have enough water not only for drinking but also for personal hygiene and cooking. Conserve water whenever possible.
2.3 Access to WASH Supplies
WASH supplies, including hygiene kits and latrine slabs, are available from the WASH Cluster Core Pipeline. Check the WASH Cluster website for Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), stock updates, and the Core Pipeline Request form for accessing these supplies.
3. Ensuring Safe Sanitation Facilities
3.1 Basic Technical Checks for Household Latrines
To prevent household latrines from collapsing, conduct the following checks in earthquake-affected areas:
- Slabs should not have any cracks. If there are any, install a new slab.
- The slab should be at least 15 cm above the surrounding ground level and have a water drainage channel.
- The slab should cover at least 30 cm beyond the borders of the pit.
- Ensure the upper part of the pit has a solid lining of concrete or wood to support the cover slab.
3.2 Reporting Shortages or Lack of WASH Service
If there is a shortage or absence of WASH services in your area, alert the WASH partner on the ground or contact the AWAAZ hotline at the toll-free number 410.
By prioritizing WASH practices and following the practical advice outlined in this comprehensive guide, individuals and families affected by the earthquake in Herat Province can ensure their safety and well-being. Seek support when needed, protect vulnerable individuals, and actively participate in decision-making processes. Implement proper sanitation practices and hand hygiene to prevent diseases. Remember, access to safe water and sanitation is essential for a healthier and more resilient community during the recovery phase.
Remember, local and international organizations, along with United Nations agencies, are present to assist those affected by the earthquake. They are dedicated to providing support where it is needed most. Do not hesitate to seek help when required; it is not something to be ashamed of.
For those Afghans seeking specific information, "Beporsed" is here to help. You can reach our information center through WhatsApp (+93729807235), Facebook Messenger, or our website's Messenger to ask our online information desk officer for assistance.
For more information
For more information on immigration, resettlement, education and scholarship programs, and other opportunities available to Afghans worldwide, as well as details on the humanitarian services provided by international organizations in Afghanistan and procedures for obtaining civil documents from governmental institutions, please visit Beporsed's website and social media pages.