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.
Environmental factors are often in tension with operation and maintenance of shelter facilities. Natural resources may be used unsustainably; water, air, and soil can be polluted; cold and heat waves require additional fuel/energy or insulation materials; sudden changes in climatic conditions can lead to floods, droughts, or landslides which present hazards to shelters and to people’s health. Changes in weather can not only affect shelters and infrastructure but also facilities and services, including water supply, sanitation, health, and education services, disrupting the normal functioning of the response.
Operation and maintenance of camps should understand and address the specific needs of women, children, the elderly, disabled, sick, or people from any form of minority or disadvantage
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems
Natural Resource Depletion
1. Environmental damages related to procurement, extraction, and use of natural resources
2. Utilities and energy supply and use
3. Control of hazardous substances – fuel, LPG, firewood, paints, cleaning fluids
4. Risk of sewerage facilities overload and disease spread
5. Impacts from solid waste management
6. Impacts from construction build and maintenance
1. Procurement, extraction, and use of natural resources can all pollute the environment – including vehicle emissions associated with extraction and transport; unsustainable depletion of natural resources – particularly forests and water resources and potential saltwater aquifer contamination in coastal areas; potential harm to flora, fauna and fragile ecosystems and potential air, water, and soil pollution
2. Installation, supply, and maintenance of utilities, including electricity, water, sanitation, and cooking energy all have the potential to pollute the air, soil, and water
3. Hazardous substances related to site operation and maintenance including stored vehicle fuel, liquid propane gas, firewood, paints, preservatives, cement, cleaning fluids, all have the potential to pollute air, water, and soil and harm the health of people, flora, and fauna
4. If sewerage facilities are not regularly emptied and hygienically treated and disposed of there is a risk of overflow, overflow from any flooding and potential surface or groundwater contamination and disease spread
5. Solid and organic waste should be separated, composted, reused, re-purposed, recycled wherever possible, or safely disposed of if hazardous and untreatable. Poor management often leads to burning and air pollution, including burning of highly toxic plastics and waste piling, harboring disease spreading vectors
6. Site shelter and infrastructure construction and maintenance all have the potential to pollute air, soil, and water and cause harm to humans, flora, and fauna.
1. Assess environmental impacts of procurement, extraction and use of natural resources
2. Write operation and maintenance procedures and monitor their implementation
3. Identify and specify safe controls, training and use of hazardous substances
4. Designed sewerage facilities to with SPHERE standards for separation from water and are regularly emptied
5. Design, implement and monitor effective solid and organic waste management plans
6. Ensure operation and maintenance manuals include the refurbishment, extension, decommissioning, and new construction
7. Plan for the effective exit, restoration, and site handover
1. Assess potential environmental impacts of procurement, extraction, and use of natural resources, and put contract policies and clauses in place to mitigate these. Monitor the application of these policies and clauses.
2. Write clear operation and maintenance manuals and monitor and report on their implementation. This should include the installation, supply, and maintenance of utilities to reduce the potential to pollute air, soil, and water, and seek sustainable alternatives
3. Operation and maintenance plans should identify and specify safe controls, training, and use of hazardous substances including stored vehicle fuel, liquid propane gas, firewood, paints, preservatives, cement, cleaning fluids
4. Ensure sewerage facilities are designed to comply with SPHERE standards for separation from the surface and groundwater and tube wells and are regularly emptied, with septage hygienically treated and disposed
5. Design, implement and monitor effective solid and organic waste management plans, ensuring solid and organic waste are separated, composted, reused, re-purposed, recycled wherever possible, or safely disposed of if hazardous and untreatable
6. Ensure operation and maintenance manuals include the refurbishment, extension, decommissioning, and also any new construction of shelter and infrastructure
7. Plan at the start for an effective exit, site restoration, and site handover to undo environmental damage caused by operation and maintenance activities
The December 26th earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Banda Aceh damaged or destroyed communities along over 800 km of coastline. The combined hazards destroyed 130,000 houses and damaged an additional 95,000.
A number of hazards, including standing water and mass graves (particularly around Banda Aceh and Meulaboh), and a risk of catastrophic flooding in the future, complicated the site selection process.
To determine site suitability, communities engaged in risk mapping to identify all locations that had become unsuitable for future development. The mapping was coupled with disaster risk reduction strategies to create effective land use plans that addressed future tsunami, storm surge, or flooding risk. Villages identified buffer zones and the availability of evacuation routes and post-disaster meeting points.
For instance, the site assessment in low-lying areas included the identification of nearby hills suitable for protection in the event of a future tsunami-related evacuation. Where such geographic features did not exist, planning regulations called for the construction of public buildings that were capable of providing enough protection for the community in such an event.
Plot-specific assessments were made as well, and investigated structural mitigation options including structural elevation or regarding of the property. In this effort, participatory planning processes were extensively employed in order to develop a shared understanding of site constraints given that those whose property was identified as unsuitable were likely to be dissatisfied with the decision. The assessment also looked at land boundary negotiations, zoning practices (for residential and commercial), and allotments for public space. Sites were assessed for their suitability (social and geotechnical) for schools, health centers, shops, market places, roads, and other community features.
To assess the site for other services and features, the community capitalized on existing expertise or found partners with the desired capability (e.g. government agencies, humanitarian organizations). Planners did find site assessment to be time-intensive and complicated given the technical requirements. Also, it was determined that detailed physical planning was needed for each plot to ensure that the footprint of the house itself and any service or utility improvements would be compatible.
· Community involvement in risk mapping can improve their effectiveness
· Shelter recovery planning should incorporate future land use plans
· Needs assessments must consider boundary negotiations, zoning practices, and
· Set-asides for public space
· Long-term shelter needs assessments may be time and resource-intensive
Percentage of activities in the operation and maintenance plan that consider their relationship with the environment.
Number of the training with environment aspects delivered
Prevention of environmental damage
Mitigation of environmental damage
Field and desktop research to develop effective environmentally sustainable operation and maintenance manuals