Sustainable flood resilience in refugee camps; com...

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Sustainable flood resilience in refugee camps; combining sustainable drainage with WASH


Humanitarian Innovation Fund/ Save the Children



Project Team

Professor Susanne Charlesworth, Dr. Andrew Adam-Bradford, Simon Watkins and Dr. Kevin Winter.

Project Objectives

The aim of this to identify and redress issues affecting resilience to flooding in refugee camps.

Objectives include data creation; assessment of the impacts on environmental and human health of pilot built environmental interventions; resilience to flooding.

Site-specific factors lead to flooding and widespread contamination, ill health, stress, injury and extreme vulnerability of the population to climate change. Surface water drainage is key in ensuring Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) achieves its objectives, but little cognisance is given of where water artificially drains to except that it must be conveyed “to another environment”, leading to further environmental degradation.

Research Impact

This project could present drainage as a human right. There is a very real prospect that this project could make tangible differences to people’s lives at a time of enormous stress and pressure. It can also influence the process by which refugee camps are set up and run, giving the community responsibility for their drainage and, by instigating sustainable greywater reuse, providing them with a means of supporting themselves by growing their own food. Refugee camps are usually ordered, bland and lack any aesthetic consideration – one of the many multiple benefits of using native vegetation in drainage devices is that it tackles these shortcomings, improving resident’s quality of life and that of the surrounding environment. The impacts of this study have the potential to be life changing for the poorest and most vulnerable populations worldwide.