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Oxfam: Four Oxfam aid flights on the way

Media Release
For immediate release: Saturday 15 October, 2005

Oxfam: Four Oxfam aid flights on the way;
Oxfam takes over tent factory;
Another helicopter joins aid efforts

Aid is getting through to many of those affected by the earthquake, despite the massive logistical challenges, said Oxfam International today.

“Aid is now getting through but this is one of the most challenging emergencies Oxfam has been involved with," said Oxfam New Zealand Executive Director, Barry Coates. “This isn't a logistical headache, it's a nightmare scenario. Not only did the earthquake happen in an inaccessible and remote area, it happened just before winter – when snow cuts off huge areas and temperatures plummet dangerously low.”

Four Oxfam aid flights are on their way to the earthquake hit region, trucks are on the roads and distributions of tents, blankets and jerry cans are well underway in many areas.

Oxfam today announced that it has taken over an entire tent-making factory in Lahore and is flying in another heavy lift helicopter to help Oxfam get aid to the most remote areas. The Mi- 8T Helicopter is on its way and should start flights in the next few days. The helicopter can carry 4 tons of aid per flight, twenty-two aid workers and at a speed of 250 kph is the fastest possible way of getting aid to people in urgent need.

Oxfam has bought up the whole production line of the tent factory in Lahore to help supply 20,000 tents that Oxfam will distribute. This factory will produce almost 100 tents per hour and once made they will be distributed to those in need.

"We need to get thousands of heavy tents and blankets into remote areas along roads that were barely passable even before the earthquake – and we need to do it quickly,” said Nick Roseveare, Head of Emergencies at Oxfam.

“Oxfam alone will need hundreds of truck journeys to get our aid through and in some areas only helicopters will do the job. We're flying in another helicopter to help. Winter tents and blankets are in short supply so we are flying them in from around the world and are taking over whole factories to help meet our demand.”

Oxfam is flying aid out nonstop:

- An aid flight from the UK carrying 40 tons of relief items, including water tanks and purification equipment is due to arrive in Islamabad last night.

- A flight left from Sri Lanka yesterday carrying 14,000 Oxfam water buckets designed to keep water free from bacteria.

- A further flight carrying another 14,000 buckets is due to leave from Sri Lanka today.

- A flight will leave over the weekend from Delhi with a cargo of 30,000 blankets for Indian administered Kashmir.

- Logistical experts at Oxfam's headquarters are on standby for further requests from Oxfam staff in the field, and it is likely that more aid flights will be sent next week.

The public can donate to the appeal now on the website www.oxfam.org.nz or by phone during work hours on toll-free 0800 400 666.

/END

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