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Lessons learned in WASH response during urban flood emergencies

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posted on 2013-07-08, 08:35 authored by Michael Smith
This paper is intended for WASH technical advisors and personnel involved in planning and delivery of WASH programmes in urban flood emergency situations. Material in the paper is based both on a rapid review of literature, and on outputs from a learning workshop held in Haiti in March 2009. The workshop was attended by international inter-agency WASH advisors and practitioners and allowed for sharing of experiences from Haiti and other urban flood emergencies. The focus of the Haiti workshop was on WASH responses, with an emphasis on three words: Flooding, Urban, and Technical. This paper aims to: capture good practices and lessons learned in WASH response to flooding in urban contexts; and identify associated common technical challenges and gaps. This paper identifies various lessons that can be learned from the experiences of relief agency staff when responding to urban flooding emergencies. The paper does not claim to be comprehensive, but can serve as a helpful document, which captures some important lessons to help improve future responses to floods in urban areas, and which can be added to in the future. In addition, these lessons have provided a framework for the development of technical guidance materials to support technical learning in the sector.


This Lessons Learned Paper has been produced under the Global WASH Cluster Technical Learning Project to support WASH sector learning and improvement. The Technical Learning Project is led by ACF-UK on behalf of the Global WASH Cluster. with the support of the following Steering Group agencies: ACF, Care, CRS, Oxfam, REDR, UNICEF and WEDC. The project team includes ACF, Care, Oxfam and WEDC.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)


SMITH, M., 2009. Lessons learned in WASH response during urban flood emergencies. New York: Global Wash Cluster, 21 pp.


© Global WASH Cluster


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This paper was published as part of The Global WASH Learning Project.


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