Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Field Implementation guidances are useful for the design and execution of humanitarian activities in the field.
Man-made and so-called natural hazards can cause significant amounts of destruction impacting the environment, livelihoods, and health of the population as well as their psychological wellbeing. Additionally, environmental factors following a traumatic event include recurring exposure to upsetting reminders of the trauma, additional adverse life events, financial or other losses related to the trauma. Inappropriate social support post-trauma can also impact someone recovering from a hugely traumatic event.
People who are living with disabilities, chronic health conditions, terminal illness, disabilities, loneliness, social exclusion, conflict, discrimination, and displacement are all significantly more likely to require mental health support.
Natural Resource depletion
Air, soil, water pollution. Poor solid waste management includes risks of harm from needles and broken glass from discarded alcohol bottles, and disease spread from pollution or needle sharing. Waste burning, including burning plastics.
Water sources and soil can be affected by the accumulation of waste and spills from piled waste items. Accumulation of packaging, containers, and bottles may result in contamination of waters sources and end up in rivers, lakes, and the ocean.
The drivers of drug and alcohol misuse often have some connections to the environment, this includes how sustainable people’s livelihoods are; the condition of the local environment; relationships and levels of conflict; a sense of opportunity, and hope. All of these issues affect whether people feel able to look after their local environment or feel in some way pushed into polluting or environmentally degrading behaviours.
Stopping alcohol and drug use is not simple. Harm reduction is about finding ways to reduce the negative impacts of ongoing use. Examples of harm reduction initiatives include needle and syringe programs, opioid pharmacotherapy treatment, peer education programs, and others. Some reduction initiatives provide medical items that need to be properly disposed of once used to avoid further health impacts, such as proper disposal of needles, syringes, and injecting equipment reduces the chance of transmitting blood-borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C.
Additionally, medicines provided and packaging also need to be properly managed. Delivery of items can have negative effects on the environment if not well planned or the needs and behaviour of individuals and communities are not appropriately assessed. Good medicine management also prohibits unsafe or expired medicines, which helps avoid immediate waste. Additionally, when delivered items do not match with the cultural particularities of affected communities, items may be unused and may accumulate. Also, when items are used but the resulting waste is not properly managed, accumulation of wastes can occur in places that have limited capacity to gather, transport, and dispose of that waste appropriately. Additionally, the lack of use of health items and the accumulation of waste can cause health problems because improper disposal and management of health wastes can also become a vector for disease to spread within communities and can contaminate the surrounding environment.
In a major Haiti earthquake response, humanitarian responders used cash for work projects to help clear solid waste from drains and water courses, which reduced the potential spread of disease.
# of assessments undertaken and used to inform the design of mental health, drug, and alcohol support programmes that consider environmental drivers
Prevention of environmental damage