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Oxfam Emergency Situation Update: Phillipines

21 February, 2006

Oxfam Emergency Situation Update:

Oxfam delivers emergency supplies to thousands of people stranded by mudslides on Leyte Island, Philippines

Heavy rains have forced over 4000 people to flee their homes in Southern Leyte. Camped in seven evacuation centres, in difficult conditions, there are urgent needs for shelter and clean water. Oxfam has distributed emergency supplies including soap, sanitary napkins, blankets and mats at local hospitals and is now starting to reach the evacuation centres.

“A lot of effort has gone into search and rescue following this terrible human tragedy – now the focus is on those who are displaced by this disaster,” said John Ievers, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Co-ordinator in the Philippines, who has been leading Oxfam’s response since Saturday.

Difficult roads conditions have limited the amount of aid reaching those who survived the tragic landslide in Guinsaugon and the thousands of others who have been evacuated.

Supplies are being purchased in nearby towns, and transported to the evacuation centres. Many roads are blocked, and the military are working round the clock to keep crucial access roads open.

“We expect the numbers of people who have to leave their homes will increase as the rain continues. Concerns about new landslides are growing. We need to prepare areas with clean water and temporary shelter as people may not be able to return home for many months,” said Ievers.

Oxfam water and sanitation teams are on the way and will be testing water sources near the evacuation sites to ensure that they are safe. Oxfam is working with the National Disaster Co-ordinating Council, Local Government and other local and national NGOs.

Donations can be made online to Oxfam’s Rapid Response Emergency Fund at

www.oxfam.org.nz or by calling 0800 400 666.

ENDS

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