Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Sector Planning guidances allow you to environmentally align your project strategy design.

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VEHA - Sector Planning Guidance

Essential Healthcare - Palliative Care, injury and trauma care

Essential Healthcare – Palliative Care, injury and trauma care

Sector result

Ensure appropriate health response while minimising any negative programme impact on the natural environment


Define the indicators

# of activities that consider sustainable burial practices and the sustainability of related activities?

% or # of personnel trained in the appropriate methods and waste management processes for dead bodies and related items.

% of health facilities that have a disaster plan including management of mass casualties that includes more sustainable parameters, reviewed and rehearsed on a regular basis


Ask Questions

Have you considered more environmentally friendly burial practices (e.g.: biodegradable coffins and urns)?

Have you considered alternative information systems to avoid papers such as funeral notices?

Do you have a disaster management plan in place? Is it being implemented?


Include a Source of Verification

Monitoring and reporting.

Provide adequate burial that is culturally appropriate and that follows health and safety regulations

Monitoring and evaluation.


Consult Guidance & Examples

• Burial cultural traditions need to be understood but accepted alternatives can be provided in order to reduce the environmental impacts. For example, bodies should not be buried in plastic “body bags” as plastic does not decompose, and thus, they limit natural decomposition. Additionally, other more sustainable burying methods can be provided such as sustainable coffins (made of wood or cardboard) or biodegradable urns (made of wood or bamboo).

• It is important to also consider the environmental impacts of small items and products related to burial practices. For example, if bodies are buried with clothes, these can be replaced with clothes made of biodegradable materials such as cotton or wool.

• Develop a disaster management plan that assesses the risks of health-related disasters and plans appropriate responses. Ensure this includes appropriate environmentally sustainable plans for palliative care, injury and trauma care, and disposal of dead bodies.

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