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Oxfam mobilises in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India

Oxfam mobilises in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India

As the death toll from the massive earthquake in South Asia climbs to over 23,000, international agency Oxfam is mobilising resources for a rapid response in the worst affected areas, despite widespread destruction of infrastructure that is hampering relief efforts.

In Sri Lanka over 11,000 people are known to have died and around one million have been displaced from their homes along the southern and eastern coastal areas. Oxfam has field offices in Sri Lanka and local staff are fully mobilised. The agency is 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 east of the country, Oxfam has already started distributing sleeping mats, plastic sheeting and food to thousands of homeless families.

In Indonesia the earthquake affected the province of Aceh, but neighbouring provinces such as Bukit Tinggi and Paya Kumbuh in West Sumatra, and Parapat in North Sumatra were also affected. The earthquake generated a 5 meter high tidal wave in Sabang island. The northern coast of Aceh and Lhokseumawe also suffered from huge tidal waves. Oxfam is already coordinating its efforts with the Indonesian Government, local authorities and UN agencies on the ground. A team is now being assembled and will head shortly to the worst affected provinces to assess the situation and the best possible response. In addition to the assessment of the public health situation, Oxfam will undertake a distribution of non-food items to 10,000 families, including hygiene kits, water tanks and emergency latrine plates. Within Indonesia Oxfam has the capacity to deliver significant levels of assistance and we are currently looking for ways that this can be channelled to the affected populations.

In India tidal waves of 15 to 20 metres hit the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, killing thousands of people. Over 4,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in villages in Andhra Pradesh and 5,000 fishing villagers have been evacuated in Tamil Nadu. Government authorities have mobilised to assist people with evacuations and providing initial aid. Oxfam partners are currently assessing affected areas and Oxfam international assessment teams will arrive in the most affected areas shortly.

In Thailand, Phuket, Krabi, Phang Na provinces were badly hit by the tidal waves that were generated by the earthquake. These provinces are popular tourist destinations and have been packed with foreign tourists at the time of the disaster. Oxfam is gathering information from the Government and other sources such as the Thai Red Cross to see if Oxfam's support is needed. At this time Oxfam believes that the Thai authorities are able to adequately respond to the crisis.

A national disaster has been declared in the Maldives after the islands were hit by severe flooding. Oxfam is monitoring the situation on the islands.

Oxfam New Zealand is coordinating with Oxfams around the world to maximise the speed and effectiveness of its emergency relief. New Zealand donations will be channelled to those most in need. People who would like to give to Oxfam's emergency response should call 0800 400 666

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