Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Index: Development and Application to Measure WASH Service Levels in European Humanitarian Camps

Abstract

The Humanitarian Agents (HAs), are among the first entities dealing with the impacts of natural and man-made disasters. This is more than essential in areas, where the National governments and associated economies are either overwhelmed to respond or unprepared to act. Under such pressing conditions, the agents, as any other similar entity, depend on a variety of monitoring and assessment tools in order to reach the most suitable decisions per case. These tools are mostly employed for the scope definition and the content of their responses, the communication of the information among the various agents, and the reporting to their donors and other beneficiaries. To this end, several field tools have been developed worldwide. Building on such a background, the present effort describes a new tool and it argues towards the development and implementation of a WASH related Composite Index. The purpose of the Index is to facilitate the WASH related assessments in refugee camps, by capturing and reflecting the actual WASH conditions and provide the necessary information for efficient program planning and implementation. Starting with Europe and specifically the humanitarian camps in Greece, the development of the Index may allow its worldwide application, while adhering to the necessary and essential standards that govern the work of all HAs operating in the sector.

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Appendices

Appendix 1 - Generic description of the selected camps

  1. 1.

    Kara Tepe (Prefecture of North Aegean) – Date: 07/11/2016

Kara Tepe camp is located in Mytilene City and is managed by the Municipality of Lesvos Island. It is considered to be among the best camps in Greece. At the time of the data collection, the camp was undergoing shelter replacement from Refugee Housing Units (RHU) to prefabricated units (containers). In terms of WASH:

  • It is connected to the municipal water supply and sewage networks;

  • Hot water is always available – olive kernel burner;

  • Gender segregated semi-permanent showers and latrines;

  • Hygiene promotion activities and daily distribution of hygiene items;

  • Relatively good drainage conditions;

  • Cleaning, maintenance and pest control services are provided;

  1. 2.

    Skaramagkas (Prefecture of Attica) – Date: 16/05/2016

Skaramagkas is an official camp populated by 3118 people. Camp management is delivered by the Hellenic War Navy in collaboration with the Municipality of Chaidarion and the Hellenic Army regarding to infrastructure issues. In terms of WASH:

  • It is equipped with 400 prefabricated housing containers. Each hosts two families with common showers – bath;

  • Connected to the municipal water supply network and the sewage system is connected to septic tanks;

  • Desludging, garbage collection and cleaning services are provided;

  1. 3.

    SK Market (Prefecture of Macedonia) – Date: 17/04/2016

SK Market site is located at the prefecture of Macedonia and is managed by the Hellenic army. It was opened as an emergency reception site at the end of May 2016 to host refugees from unofficial camps like Eidomeni and has a capacity of 500 persons. In terms of WASH:

  • Connected to the municipal water supply and sewage networks;

  • The water availability is less than 15lt/person/day;

  • No Hygiene promotion activities or garbage collection services;

  • Adequate number of chemical toilets and portable showers – all gender segregated.

  1. 4.

    Frakapor (Prefecture of Macedonia) – Date: 17/04/2016

Frakapor site is located in the prefecture of Macedonia and is managed by the Hellenic Air Force. It was opened as an emergency reception site at the end of May 2016 to host refugees from unofficial camps like Eidomeni and has a capacity of 600 persons. In terms of WASH:

  • It is not connected to the municipality network. 25m3 of water is trucked in the camp on a daily basis;

  • Hot water is only available via electric boilers;

  • Disludging and cleaning services are provided and 20 garbage bins are allocated around the camp;

  • Hygiene promotion activities and regular hygiene kits distributions are taking place;

  • The camp is equipped with chemical toilets and portable showers.

  1. 5.

    Vasilika (Prefecture of Macedonia) – Date: 20/04/2016

Vasilika (Radestos) camp is located in the prefecture of Macedonia and is managed by the Hellenic Air Force. It was opened as an emergency reception camp middle of June 2016 to host refugees from unofficial camps and has a capacity of 1500 persons. In terms of WASH:

  • Water supply comes from municipal network;

  • Availability of hot water via electric boilers spread across the camp;

  • 4 water points with each of one having 10 tabs with adequate pressure;

  • The camp is connected to the municipal sewage system and is also equipped with septic tanks;

  • The camp is equipped with chemical toilets and portable showers;

  • Desludging and cleaning services are provided;

  • Hygiene promotion activities and regular hygiene kits distributions are taking place;

  1. 6.

    EKO Gas Station (Prefecture of Macedonia) – Date: 21/04/2016

The camp was prepared as a temporary solution to the crisis and it was managed by the Hellenic Police. It reached a capacity of 1237 persons. In terms of WASH:

  • It was connected to the municipal water supply network;

  • No connection to the sewage system;

  • It was equipped with chemical toilets and portable showers – gender segregated;

  • No hygiene promotion and messaging;

  • No pest control services were provided;

  • Cleaning and maintenance services were provided;

  1. 7.

    Chara Hotel (Prefecture of Macedonia) – Date:26/04/2016

The hotel was occupied by almost 1300 refugees from Eidomeni without prior approval from the local or national authorities or the owner of the hotel. For this reason, the owner cut the water supply of the hotel. However:

  • Chemical toilets and portable showers had been installed;

  • Water was being transported on a daily basis;

  • Due to the lack of water, the sewage system was not operational;

  • Poor hygiene conditions despite the frequent cleaning of the hotel;

  1. 8.

    Eidomeni (Prefecture of Macedonia) – 28/04/2016

Eidomeni was developed immediately after the decision of the neighbor countries to close their borders and cut the refugees’ route to the rest of Europe. Eidomeni was the largest camp in the country reaching a population of approximately 10,000 people. It served as a temporary camp before the people were relocated to other camps. The camp caused many problems for both the local population and the refugees. Specifically, the extended accommodation of the refugees got them into a position of constant unrest, which came to affect the locals due to raids and other related activities. Not all the refugees participated in those actions. Just a small number of them, but that was enough for the national media to misuse the occasions. In terms of WASH:

  • Chemical toilets and portable showers had been installed;

  • There was no connection to municipal water supply or sewage networks;

  • Very poor hygiene conditions;

  • No drainage system;

  1. 9.

    Malakasa (Prefecture of Attica) – Date: 17/05/2016

Malakasa camp has a designed capacity of 1500 people and is managed by the Greek Ministry of Migration and the Greek Army in terms of infrastructure. In terms of WASH:

  • The camp is connected to the municipal water supply;

  • Containers are being used for showers and latrines – gender segregated;

  • No adequate hygiene messaging and promotion;

  • Pest control and cleaning services are provided;

  1. 10.

    Petra Olympou (Prefecture of Macedonia) – Date: 27/04/2016

Petra camp is in Pieria (30 km near Katerini) and the Hellenic Army manages it. The population of this camp is around 1000. The camp is separate in three sectors due to its anaglyph. The camp closed due to the heavy winter in the region and the lack of heating. In terms of WASH:

  • The camp water supply comes from the municipal network;

  • Hygiene promotion activities regarding environment-cleaning practices (garbage collection, food waste treatment, etc.);

  • The camp is equipped with sex segregated chemical toilets but not similarly segregated showers;

  • No drainage system is available.

  1. 11.

    Serres (Prefecture of Serres) – Date: 20/06/2016

The camp has a population of 420 people and is managed by the Ministry of Migration. In terms of WASH:

  • The camp is connected to the municipal water supply and sewage network;

  • It is equipped with chemical toilets and portable showers – gender segregated;

  • No hygiene messaging and promotion;

  • No distribution of hygiene items;

  • Very poor hygiene conditions;

  • No pest control services are provided;

  1. 12.

    Pikpa (Prefecture of North Aegean) – 07/11/2016

Pikpa camp is located in Mytilene, Lesvos Island and is managed by a self-organized group of local and international volunteers under the name of “The Village of All Together.” The camp was a former summer camp for the children for summer vacations. In terms of WASH:

  • The camp is connected to the municipal network but the sewage network is connected to septic tanks;

  • There is a building for gender segregated showers and latrines. Additionally, there are six rooms with individual bathrooms for extremely vulnerable people;

  • Desludging services are provided;

  • The cleaning and the maintenance of the camp is under the responsibilities of the volunteers;

Appendix 2

Table 6 The categorization of the indicators into classes

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Tsesmelis, D.E., Skondras, N.A., Khan, S.Y.A. et al. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Index: Development and Application to Measure WASH Service Levels in European Humanitarian Camps. Water Resour Manage 34, 2449–2470 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-020-02562-z

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Keywords

  • Humanitarian sector
  • WASH assessment
  • Water, sanitation and hygiene
  • Ranking approaches
  • Refugee crisis - Greece