The EUWA Project
As for the future, disasters getting intensified with the effects of climate change, water supply of the population (evacuated or lacking drinkable water at home) will be more and more important in this region as well as it already in large scale emergencies all over the World. A specific characteristic of floods and water-related disasters is that population and infrastructure – especially water infrastructure – are both struck at the same time. Lacking an operational drinking water network, search and rescue units deployed in the area have to provide for their own drinking water needs as well, raising logistic costs, unit size and putting unnecessary burden on themselves.
Water Purification units – especially those of non-authority background – face serious challenges in times of deployment, due to lack of familiarity with the area and to their difficulties of connection to the local disaster management centres.
Generally, USAR modules are deployed first, followed by WP modules later on, yet in most cases WP modules are responsible solely for the drinking water supply of the local population, while USAR teams remain to depend on drinking water transported for them from a distance. This way, both WP modules are wasting capacities and USAR modules are wasting resources on unnecessary logistical work and expenditures.
There are numerous precedents where USAR and WP modules were deployed parallel (2010 Haiti, 2011 Japan, 2013 Philippines, 2014 Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) but none of the precedents shown joint deployment of the two modules. Hungarian WP units have been deployed in Sri Lanka (2005), in the Philippines (2013), in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (2014), with no connection to USAR or other modules, providing drinking water solely to the local population, while unable to make a reliable connection to the USAR modules deployed in the very same time and area.
The main objectives of EUrban Water Aid are:
1 – Improve civil protection preparedness and response to flood related disasters
2 – Work out a cooperation framework between the WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) sector and civil protection in emergencies that is practical and exportable to transnational and international levels
3 – Test the activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and its tools according to a disaster scenario on large flood on the river Tisza
4 – Test the implementation of the Host Nation Support in case of disaster exercise
5 – To promulgate the use of GIS based risk assessment at the planning and intervention phase of disasters
6 – Improve the efficiency of professional and volunteer rescue teams and water purification modules in civil protection assistance interventions.