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Oxfam scales up response to earthquake

Tuesday 11 October, 2005

Oxfam scales up response to earthquake:
Water an increasing concern

Oxfam's emergency response is now well underway with a planned initial budget of (NZ) $17.6 million which will be funded by our international appeal.
Assessments teams have now reported back from Indian and Pakistan administered Kashmir.

Shaista Aziz, an Oxfam aid worker who has been part of the assessment mission to Pakistan administered Kashmir said, "Shelter remains an urgent priority but getting clean drinking water is an increasing problem in many areas."

In response to these assessments Oxfam has already bought 4,000 tents and material for 8,000 temporary shelters. Oxfam is sourcing a total of 60,000 tents and will be getting them to the affected area as quickly as possible.

"As well as our work on shelter, we also have growing concerns over the water supply. Today we have taken the decision to fly out a team of water experts and engineers from around the world to help assess the water and sanitation situation and to help coordinate the international response in this area. Unless we get clean water to people there is a risk the death toll could mount further" said Nick Roseveare Oxfam's Humanitarian Director.

Oxfam New Zealand's appeal has already generated thousands of dollars within hours of opening but more money will be needed to fund this operation.

- People can donate to the appeal now on the website www.oxfam.org.nz
- The public can also give by phone on 0800 400 666.
Oxfam has been working in Pakistan since 1973 and in India since 1951. We have a record of responding to natural disasters in both countries including the July 2005 floods in Pakistan, the December 2004 Tsunami in South India and the January 2001 earthquake in Gujarat.

We work in partnership with local organisations who work day-in-day-out on community development projects and our response to this disaster is grounded in our already strong relations with communities.

NOTES

INDIA

Oxfam's local partner organizations in Indian administered Kashmir provided shelter and food to victims of the earthquake on the day it happened. An Oxfam team is in Indian administered Kashmir to provide assistance and to assess what further help is needed.

In Indian administered Kashmir over 600 people have died and around 100,000 people have been severely affected by the earthquake. The worst affected districts are Baramula and Kupwara in Srinigar and Poonch in Jammu. In Baramula the town of Uri and 57 villages are at least 80% flattened.

We will be supporting at least 20,000 people affected by the earthquake in
India. Oxfam is procuring blankets, plastic sheeting and food supplies for those affected. Oxfam engineers will also be providing water tanks. Snow fall will come shortly to Kashmir so we are also arranging for winterized tents to be flown in from Delhi. We are coordinating our response with other aid organizations and with the government.

PAKISTAN

In Pakistan Oxfam partner organizations responded immediately to the disaster and Oxfam has now flown in additional support personnel from the South Asia region and from the UK.

The most affected areas are Abbottabad, Manshera, Ballakot, Battagram, Shangla and Khoistan in North West Frontier Province and Bagh, Rawala Kot and Muzzafferabad in Pakistan administered Kashmir. Public infrastructure has been badly damaged and many roads have been blocked by landslides.

We will be supporting 300,000 people in Pakistan. Oxfam is already organizing plastic sheeting, winterized tents, blankets, hygiene kits, water jerry cans and winter clothing. We are working with local partners and many volunteers.

ENDS

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