Camps and Informal Settlements

Where Oxfam is involved in the planning of camps or settlements for people affected by an emergency, a key part of this input should be on WASH services.


NRC Camp Management Toolkit

Minimum Requirements

Site Planning and Assessment โ€“ Water Supply and Excreta Disposal

  • To ensure relevant WASH services are provided which are sufficient for expected camp populations, staff should be involved in technical WASH assessments (water availability, options for excreta disposal etc.) before a new site is selected.
  • Camp populations and therefore WASH needs typically increase over time; WASH activities should remain flexible to changes in camp population.
  • Initial site planning should consider the immediate situation, and likely future development of a camp. For example, WASH services (latrine designs etc.) can evolve over the different phases of a campโ€™s lifetime.

Site Planning and Layout

  • The location of latrines and washing facilities should facilitate safe access and provide sufficient privacy and cultural acceptance for women and girls. Consultation with women and girls regarding location and design is essential.
  • Solid waste disposal sites should be located away from water sources and at central areas throughout camps or at the periphery.
  • Laundry and dishwashing stations should be conveniently located to households and water supplies.


  • Firebreaks between tents, shelters, and buildings are essential to limit the possibility of fire spreading. The minimum space between structures should be 2.5 times the height of the structure (e.g. 2m-high tents should be spaced 5m apart).
  • When it is not possible to achieve this distance, fire safety campaigns are essential to help camp residents identify risks and take appropriate mitigation and fire response measures