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Oxfam Tsunami Emergency Appeal: Situation Update

Situation Update
For Immediate Release: 21 January 2005

Oxfam Tsunami Emergency Appeal: Situation Update

Shipments of equipment, vehicles and other aid supplies are continuing to arrive by sea and air across the region and are distributed to the people Oxfam has identified as needing aid. We are also sending out assessment teams which are discovering new groups in many places who also need aid. Oxfam has been allocated international coordinating responsibility for providing water and sanitation facilities, as this is one of our primary areas of expertise in emergency situations. Oxfam is leading in the race against time to provide clean water and sanitation to prevent the outbreak of water-borne disease, still the major threat across the region.

Plans are being drawn up in all the tsunami hit countries where we are working on how Oxfam is going to support the reconstruction and rehabilitation effort over the longer term – especially how we will help people to re-establish their ability to earn a secure living in the aftermath of the disaster.

There are now approximately 330 international and local Oxfam staff working in the tsunami region, as well as support provided for the work of many local partners in the region. This figure is changing all the time as more staff are deployed. Two New Zealand engineers are with the Oxfam team in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Another two, including Oxfam New Zealand’s Water Programme Manager, have working in the Batticaloa area of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka
Oxfam field offices were alerted to a cyclone warning on Sunday the 16th January, and offices prepared an emergency evacuation plan for the teams on Monday 17th January. Fortunately, the cyclone weakened within 24 hours.

Oxfam has set up a new office, staff house and storage space to facilitate the relief work in Ampara district over the weekend, and relief operations from the new office has commenced. The area of concern is how to address those people that are staying with host families, or that have returned to their homes, but have lost all their possessions.

Oxfam is committing itself to assisting in restoring the Batticaloa town water supply, by providing pumps, chlorination meters, well covers and possibly repairing 3km of piping. This will return regular, clean water to over 20,000 families.

In Killinochchi, Oxfam has been allocated responsibility for water and sanitation in 7 camps. Construction of latrines has started and discussions are underway on the water supply to several campsites.

Some 260 hygiene packs and 3500 buckets were distributed over the weekend in Hambantota and 2500 family pack are now complete and ready for distribution today. Site planning for 10 temporary houses in Tangalle and preparation for packing of baby packs is underway.

Oxfam partner organisation CHA has distributed family packs containing dry rations of food to 2,911 families in the Amparai/Batti district. People who left the camps are reported to return due to the recent period of heavy rains and lack of sufficient shelter outside of the camps. Oxfam is appraising proposals from SEEDS, EHED, IWTHI and NAFSO. BRAC, a partner from Bangladesh arrived at Sri Lanka and is considering a relief/rehabilitation programme.

In Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, Oxfam has completed the construction of 150 thatched-roof temporary shelters. Oxfam and other NGOs are supporting state Governments with resources and specialised technical knowledge on the provision of relief and rehabilitation. To date we have distributed 6,400 hygiene kits.

In Nagappattinam District, restoration of bore wells providing water for 1,500 people has been completed. In addition, Oxfam has started a hygiene promotion campaign. Oxfam volunteers are training community members in hygiene awareness to support further hygiene and sanitation programmes. 2,000 hygiene kits have been distributed in this region so far. With the community’s participation and agreement, 52 latrines will be constructed in the coming days.

In Karaikal district (Union Territory of Pondicherry), hygiene kits including include undergarments, soap, comb, hair oil toothpowder, and mugs were distributed to 800 families, bringing the total who have received kits to nearly 6,000. A further 5,000 kits are due to be distributed.

In Kanyakumari 4,300 hygiene kits have been distributed so far as well as 8,500 items of women’s clothing.

Oxfam is planning to fund work on fishing boat repair, fishing nets provision, agriculture and reforestation, and to provide cash for work and small grants to help people restore their livelihoods.

Several partners of Oxfam - Prepare, DHAN and Sidur - distributed relief packages in Tamil Nadu and Andrah Pradesh to around 6,820 families.

Oxfam was one of the first agencies to work in Kerala, as most of the other agencies focused exclusively on the more badly affected east coast. Other agencies are now started to operate in the area. The Government has been proactively engaging with Oxfam in all relief and rehabilitation work.

Oxfam participated in a workshop on ‘Disaster Resistant Housing Technology’ organized by KESNIC, Oxfam’s local partner group in Kollam, and contributed advice on social and gender issues in temporary shelters during disaster relief, in line with the recommended humanitarian (Sphere) standards. The coordinating authority has shown keen interest in all suggestions shared by Oxfam on the construction of temporary shelters.

OCHA (the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance) is now providing strong leadership in co-ordinating the response of the different agencies involved in providing relief to tsunami hit communities. This is something Oxfam and others had publicly called for within days of the tsunami striking, when it seemed that US plans might cause duplication and confusion.

Oxfam is supporting and advising the Indonesian Ministry of Social Welfare to help with thinking on women’s issues such as equitable distribution of relief items and the sensitive location of latrines.

New equipment, vehicles and other goods are arriving by plane from the UK and by boat via Malaysia. Hygiene items are being purchased locally and should be distributed quickly by our public health team.

In Meulaboh, we are currently providing water and sanitation services to about 15,000 people in existing settlements and camps that are being developed to relocate people from public places such as schools and semi permanent relocation camps. Coverage will grow to 25,000 next week, representing 50% of total displaced population here. Kiwi engineers, sent to Aceh by Oxfam New Zealanders, have played a leading role in renovating an emergency water treatment facility at a city water treatment plant that was destroyed by the tsunami. It started operating yesterday.

On the North and East coast Oxfam has identified new communities of people who have lost their homes to the tsunami and are in need of aid.

In Medan, we are making good use of helicopters to transport aid supplies and equipment and are also able to provide some capacity to other agencies and the UN.

In Aceh Besar and Aceh Jaya water and sanitation work and distribution of relief items in camps around Banda Aceh is now reaching 26,000 people. Solid waste management, is a growing problem in a number of camps and Oxfam is employing people living in the camps to help deal with it quickly and effectively. Oxfam has been allocated responsibility for supplying water equipment and technical support to those camps.


Oxfam operates through partners in Burma in the most affected area -the Irrawaddy river delta south of Yangon. Oxfam funded a partner HREIB and a newly created group the Tsunami Action Group (TAG) dealing with these issues.


Oxfam partner OTP distributes relief items like plastic cover sheeting, blankets, cooking utensils to families along the coast from Bandar to Gara'ad. They are also repairing water sources in Hafun, Bayla and Gara'ad. Another partner, GECPD, operates in the Mudug region and is distributing women and children’s clothes, blankets and plastic sheeting.


Appeal hotline 0800 600 700

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