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Oxfam approaching fundraising target – thanks

Media Release
Immediate release Friday 28th January 2005

Oxfam approaching fundraising target –
with huge thanks to New Zealand public

Oxfam is today thanking the New Zealand public for their generosity that has made Oxfam's tsunami appeal the most successful appeal in our history. As a result of the unprecedented public response in New Zealand and internationally, Oxfam's planned work is now almost fully funded, supporting a long-term programme to rebuild communities in the tsunami-affected region.

Oxfam New Zealand’s Executive Director, Barry Coates said: "The speed and scale of response has helped us save thousands of lives. The generosity of the New Zealand public, many businesses and volunteers has meant that we are in the privileged position of almost having enough money to fund our work. Oxfam is already helping 300,000 people and has plans in place to reach over 600,000 people in the region over the next few weeks."

Oxfam has raised $1.6 million from public donations and we anticipate that planned reconstruction work will be fully funded once donations from planned and committed ongoing fundraising activities are completed. Therefore Oxfam will not be initiating any new fundraising efforts in New Zealand for the Tsunami Emergency Appeal. Instead we are urging members of the public to remember other urgent development priorities. As many people die from hunger and poverty-related disease each week as were killed by the tsunami.

Of particular concern to Oxfam New Zealand is the lack of progress in the Pacific, particularly in Melanesia, in the reduction of poverty. A recent United Nations report, the authoritative UN Millennium Project Report, shows that the Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa are the two regions that are most clearly failing to meet achievable targets on infant mortality, clean water supply, sanitation, youth unemployment and the spread of HIV/AIDS. In September 2000, all 191 member countries of the United Nations pledged to work together to meet targets for poverty reduction by 2015. It should be of deep concern to all New Zealanders that the Pacific islands, most notably Melanesia, are slipping further behind. Oxfam New Zealand is calling for increased public funding to enable us to scale up and meet the development challenges of the Pacific.

Oxfam is also anxious to keep the forgotten humanitarian crises in the minds of the media and the public. In particular, the situation in the Darfur region of western Sudan is dire. Nearly two million people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the conflict in Darfur, Sudan. Many have seen their families killed, abducted, abused or raped.

"As many people are homeless in Sudan as in the tsunami region, but Sudan has quickly become a forgotten emergency,” said Coates. "While the world's attention has moved on, these people have remained where they are – homeless and with nothing.”

The severity of the crisis in Darfur has meant that Oxfam has had to increase the size of our programme there. Oxfam is currently helping nearly 700,000 people with shelter, clean drinking water and sanitation.

“Today, we're saying thank you for all you have done and continue to do for the tsunami victims – but please also help us to support our neighbours in the Pacific and the victims of the world's forgotten emergencies like Sudan. The public has been hugely generous towards the people devastated by the tsunami,” said Coates. “Extending that hand of support to others would mean an historic legacy of support to end poverty and suffering.”


Notes to Editor:

- While Oxfam's tsunami appeal is close to fully funded, governments have still not delivered even half of the money that they promised to the UN appeal.

- Oxfam’s appeal will continue for events and activities that are already planned and factored into Oxfam spending plans for the tsunami.

- Oxfam, internationally, has raised around $210 million.

The Millennium Development Goals:

In 2000, governments agreed a set of objectives – the Millennium Development Goals – which set out targets for poverty reduction to meet by 2015. But, at current rates of progress, many of the goals will be missed. A new report, the UN Millennium Project Report, coordinated by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, emphasizes the need for governments to ensure that 0.7% of their GNI is spent on aid. Although some have met this goal, most governments still lag way behind. New Zealand is one of the lowest among OECD countries, currently spending around 0.26% (including tsunami aid). The report also recommends a cancellation of unpayable debts of the poorest countries.

Oxfam fears that, if the world fails to meet the Millennium Development Goals and current trends are allowed to continue, that:

- 45 million more children will die between now and 2015

- 247 million more people in Sub-Saharan Africa will be living on less than $1 a day in 2015

- 97 million more children will still be out of school in 2015

- 53 million more people in the world will lack proper sanitation facilities.


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