The case study
This case study helps to demonstrate how the Sphere handbook can be used in practice. There are always difficult decisions to be made in humanitarian emergency situations; the handbook is a tool to help us make those decisions, ensuring that steps are taken to alleviate suffering, and remembering that those affected by disaster have a right to a life with dignity and therefore a right to assistance.
This case study is based around a film entitled 'The time after tsunami', which was made in southern India. It documents the response to the 2004 tsunami, which left many people homeless, living in temporary shelters and struggling as their normal lives and livelihoods were disrupted.
After watching the short clips of the film, there are sets of questions that highlight how the Sphere handbook can be used in such situations to improve the quality of assistance. This case study should not be seen as a criticism of the response to this tsunami in India, but as a learning exercise with the aim of improving future response to other emergencies. Responding to such sudden disasters is not an easy task. Such situations are complex, resources may be scarce and the problems needing an immediate response may be numerous.
The questions cover various sections of the Sphere handbook, including:
- Water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion
- Shelter, settlement and non-food items
- Food security, nutrition and food aid
Reference is also made to the Humanitarian Charter and the common standards.
Aim of this case study
The aim of this case study is to enable humanitarian aid workers to:
- use the Sphere handbook for decision making in the field
- understand the Sphere standards and indicators
- understand processes for dealing with humanitarian emergencies
Note: as you work through the case study, the following icons will link you to relevant content in the Sphere handbook.
- key indicator
- guidance note