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Tsunami five months on: Oxfam's biggest aid effort

Tsunami five months on: New report shows tsunami is Oxfam's biggest ever aid effort

The scale of the Tsunami's destruction and the enormous public response has made the tsunami aid effort the largest in Oxfam's history, according to Oxfam's first quarterly report on its response published today.

The report reveals that in the first three months of the response, Oxfam helped over one million people and funds available to the organization now exceed NZ$350 million, making this the biggest response in Oxfam's history. Oxfam's assistance has ranged from providing hygiene kits to survivors in the immediate aftermath of the disaster in Indonesia to supporting the reconstruction of new homes in Sri Lanka.

"For once the scale of the response reflects the scale of the disaster and what we have been able to accomplish so far has only been possible thanks to the unprecedented generosity of ordinary people around the world," said Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International.

The quarterly report also includes Oxfam's five-year spending strategy to finance the largest humanitarian effort in its history. Oxfam's Tsunami fund will spend NZ$350 million over the next five years on 'reconstruction plus' across seven tsunami-affected countries.

"Our long-term reconstruction programme aims to give people the chance of building something better than the poverty that existed before the tsunami," added Hobbs.

Oxfam International has set up a specific Tsunami Fund to coordinate programme work, and to ensure accountability to the public who can see how funds are being used.

At the end of March, Oxfam International had spent over NZ$37 million across seven tsunami-affected countries. Almost 95 per cent of Oxfam International's tsunami fund will be spent directly on Oxfam's humanitarian programmes which have saved thousands of lives and are already helping more than a million people fulfil their basic needs, helping them get back to work and rebuild their communities. This year, Oxfam plans to spend NZ$112 million.

"We've published our full figures today so that the public who donated so generously know that their money is saving and rebuilding lives. This is our biggest aid effort ever and we want people to know we are accountable both to the donors and to the beneficiaries," said Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International.

Although the reconstruction phase will take time, Oxfam is making significant progress. In Sri Lanka, for example, Oxfam International is already assisting 430,000 people and has spent more than NZ$13.5 million providing life-saving water and sanitation and helping people to get back to work and rebuild their communities. More than 22,600 men and women have benefited from Oxfam's cash-for-work and livelihoods programs and 400 children have received the materials they need to return to school.

In Indonesia, Oxfam International has already reached 139,000 people. Community-led cash-for-work programmes have paid almost 30,000 men and women for clearing villages and draining seawater from agricultural lands, planting mangrove seedlings and building community houses. Oxfam is already helping 520,000 people across south India and has spent NZ$7 million of its five-year budget helping people recover from the tsunami.

"Despite the grief and loss this disaster has caused, reconstruction can provide opportunities to alleviate poverty and restore dignity. It's important, psychologically, for families to be able to plan and look to the future. Oxfam's shelter and livelihood programmes are helping families recover by involving them in key decisions about their future," added Hobbs.

Oxfam New Zealand has contributed to the joint Oxfam Tsunami response through sending Kiwi water engineers to Aceh and Sri Lanka, helping to plan the relief and long-term reconstruction programme and providing funds from our biggest ever appeal. Of the NZ$1.9 million raised from the New Zealand public and NZ$1.3 million from the government, around 95 per cent will be sent overseas to directly fund the joint Oxfam programme.

/Ends

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