Emergencies can result from the effects of unpredictable natural forces or from the cruelty of conflicts. The affected population is often left vulnerable to increased health risks. The victims' exposure to these risks can be reduced by timely public health interventions. Often, one of the first basic mitigations is the provision of water for essential needs. The quickest option, and generally more polluted, is of surface waters. We have reviewed particle separation options for emergency water treatment of surface waters. These vary from granular filtration package treatment facilities to ceramic candle filters and have therefore been broadly classified in three categories: modular, mobile and point-of-use (or household). The operational requirements and process limitations that can influence the choice of each option are discussed alongside with their underlying particle separation mechanisms and performance data.

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