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Oxfam tsunami report reveals biggest aid effort

Oxfam tsunami report reveals biggest aid effort in history

The tsunami aid effort has been Oxfam International’s biggest ever relief operation according to its end of year ‘Tsunami Accountability Report’. The report has been produced to show the public how the money it gave to Oxfam’s appeal has been spent.

The report details how and where Oxfam has spent the public’s money, what has been achieved, some of the challenges we have met, and what are Oxfam’s future plans. The report shows that:

• Oxfam raised US$ 278 million in its most successful appeal ever – over 90% of this from the public.

• By the end of the first year Oxfam will have already spent US $127 million dollars or 45% of the total raised.

• So far Oxfam is estimated to have helped approximately 1.8 million people.

• Oxfam has worked in all of the worst affected countries: Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India (including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Thailand, the Maldives, Somalia and Burma.

• Funds have been earmarked according to need, with Indonesia being allocated 40% of the total funding, Sri Lanka 31% and India 22%.

• Oxfam is planning to spend a further US$83 million in 2006, US$51 million in 2007, and US$17 million in 2008.

• Oxfam’s two major areas of focus, accounting for almost 60% of total expenditure, have been public health interventions – such as digging wells, providing toilets and restoring clean water supplies – and work to help rebuild people’s livelihoods.

• Oxfam has worked with almost 150 local partner organizations.

• Only 6% of the fund will be spent on essential administration.

In launching the report, Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and Oxfam’s honorary President said, “The tsunami has proved to be a unique challenge. The magnitude of the disaster demanded a response on a scale beyond any previous experience. It has also generated an unprecedented surge of generosity from people around the world. This has imposed a massive responsibility on organizations such as Oxfam to demonstrate to donors that we are spending their money transparently and wisely.”

The report sets out some of the challenges that Oxfam has faced. These include an absence of suitable building materials in Indonesia; insecurity in Somalia; a lack of government clarity on land rights, land provision, and coastal buffer zones; and initial problems with coordination between aid agencies responding to the crisis. Some of these issues are still outstanding and Oxfam is working with others to try and resolve them.

Despite these challenges the report notes the scale of the successes that Oxfam has played an important role in, for example, the rapid rebuilding of livelihoods by providing cash-for-work programs and helping to rebuild old industries, the averting of any public health crisis following the tsunami, and our focus on supporting marginalized communities, whether these be Dalits (‘untouchables’) in India or women at risk in temporary camps.

“Oxfam’s work has been instrumental in helping hundreds of thousands of people affected by the tsunami to rebuild their lives. The resilience of the people in tsunami-affected countries has been incredible. Major challenges remain, of course, but unlike many other crises, we have the resources to be able to help rebuild people’s lives for the future. None of this would have been possible without the extraordinary support of the public, and I want to thank them for their generosity,” said Barbara Stocking, Chair of the Oxfam International Tsunami Fund.

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