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Oxfam responds to South Asia Disaster

Oxfam responds to South Asia Disaster

International agency Oxfam reports that Sri Lanka is likely to be among the worst affected by the devastating floods that have followed the massive earthquake in South Asia. According to initial estimates 5,000 people may have been killed, 200,000 directly affected and perhaps one million made homeless.

Phil Esmonde, Head of Oxfam in Sri Lanka said "This is a massive humanitarian disaster and communications are so bad we still don't know the full scale of it. Unless we get aid quickly to the people, many more could die." Oxfam flood-response experts are already on their way to the worst affected regions and urgently needed assistance is being prepared.

"Food, water and shelter are all urgently needed by the people affected. We have already started getting aid to the people but much more will be needed. Without a rapid response, those who survived the flooding could still fall victim to disease or dehydration,” added Esmonde. “The flood waters have contaminated wells and clean water is scarce. Oxfam has sent sixty 1,000 litre water tanks to Trincomalee, one of the worst affected areas and is planning urgent water distribution.”

Oxfam is also preparing 25,000 food packs containing rice, flour, dhal, fish, sugar and cereal to address the food needs of people who have lost everything. A further 10,000 packs containing other essential items such as soap, sanitary towels, candles and matches are being put together. Shelter is also a major issue, with thousands of houses completely destroyed. Oxfam is sourcing plastic sheeting for temporary shelter for 10,000 families. In the north of the country Oxfam has already started distributing sleeping mats, plastic sheeting and food to thousands of homeless families.

Oxfam New Zealand has launched an appeal to fund the response in the disaster-stricken areas. Barry Coates, head of Oxfam New Zealand, said today “This is a devastating blow to the people of South Asia. Kiwis are all too aware of the dangers of earthquakes and tsunamis and we hope that they will respond generously so that we can get help to the victims of this disaster.”

People who would like to give to Oxfam's emergency response should call 0800 400 666

http://www.oxfam.org.nz

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