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Oxfam's work around the Myanmar Cyclone

Please find an advisory of Oxfam's work around the Myanmar Cyclone.


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Has Oxfam launched an appeal to assist the people affected by the Myanmar cyclone?
Oxfam internationally has pledged an initial NZ$1.2m, and Oxfam New Zealand will contribute through a public appeal with an initial target of NZ$200,000 to be disbursed to partners working in Myanmar and international agencies already working on the ground in Myanmar – right now that's the best way we can help save lives and assist people in Myanmar.

How many aid workers does Oxfam have working in Myanmar?
Oxfam currently does not run operational programmes in Myanmar. And so its aid effort will be channelled through partner organisations with a mixture of cash funding, technical expertise and equipment where required.

What are some of the challenges the international community faces in responding to this humanitarian emergency?
The aid effort faces huge challenges. Immediate needs are known to be shelter, water, food, food and public health, with primary concerns there will be cholera outbreaks in the delta region. Some 24 million people live in the areas affected by the storm. Communications are down in the cyclone-hit areas, roads have been washed away and getting aid to people will be very difficult. The international and the national community needs to be both quick to respond to this crisis and ensure the needs of those affected are met.

How does this disaster compare other recent disasters such as the Indian Ocean tsunami and Pakistan earthquake?
Every natural disaster is different and it's not possible to make direct comparisons. But what's clear is that this is a major humanitarian disaster affecting up to one million of the poorest people in South East Asia. It is important that international humanitarian agencies and national and local civil society organisations are able to work impartially to ensure that urgent assistance is directed to the people in most need of help.

This is another major disaster to hit a poor and vulnerable region of Asia. Oxfam's analysis of natural disasters has documented the increased scale and frequency of extreme weather events, likely to be associated with climate change. In Myanmar, as in previous disasters, it is the poorest of the poor that are being hit the hardest.

How long will the aid effort last?
It's too early to know. But what's clear is this is a major humanitarian emergency affecting up to one million of the poorest people in South East Asia. The relief phase of the operation is likely to take at least six months followed by a lengthy rebuilding phase.

How long will it take for aid to get through?
Some aid is already getting through but nowhere near enough. Oxfam's initial pledge donation will help many more cyclone-affected people in Myanmar. But much more needs to be done.

What are the most urgent humanitarian needs?
Right now the aid effort is focused on saving lives. There is an urgent need to provide affected people with clean water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. There's also a need for temporary shelter such as plastic sheeting and tarpaulins as well as food.

Can I donate goods in kind to Oxfam such as blankets and medical equipment?
Oxfam does not accept goods in kinds. Transporting in kind donations is prohibitively expensive not to mention time consuming. Where possible Oxfam and partners purchase relief items locally to keep costs low as well as to help stimulate the local economy.

Donate to Oxfam's Myanmar Cyclone Appeal by calling 0800 400 666 (24hours), make an automatic $20 donation by calling 0900 600 20 or donate online at www.oxfam.org.nz


ENDS

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