It is generally accepted that excreta disposal is given less priority in emergencies than other humanitarian interventions such as health care, food and water supply. This is despite the fact that many of the most common diseases occurring in emergency situations are caused by inadequate sanitation facilities and poor hygiene practice. Many aid agencies are aware of these facts and wish to give a greater emphasis to excreta disposal. In the past, however, they have been hampered by a lack of experience and resources to support their field staff.
The purpose of this manual is to provide practical guidance on how to select, design, construct and maintain appropriate excreta disposal systems in emergency situations. Relevant situations include natural disasters, relief for refugees and internally displaced people, and complex emergencies, focusing on rural and peri-urban areas.