Our Conflicts and Emergencies blog (EN)
It was the kindness of strangers. When Aziz fled from the Syrian conflict to Lebanon, he heard about a farmer who allowed Syrian refugees to camp on his land. "How much is the rent to be on his land?", I ask Aziz. "It's nothing," he tells me, "the farmer charges nothing." The tent, made by Aziz himself from recovered tarpaulin posters from old billboard adverts, is lit by an electric light. "How do you get electricity?" "From the farmer. He let's us use his electricity supply for free."
As part of the international campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence,” Oxfam in Mali, Wildaf - a local partner - and International Medical Corps launched an exhibition in Bamako, Gao and Timbuktu, entitled “From shadow into light”.
The numbers generated by the ongoing conflict in Syria are truly shocking. This Monday, 9 December, will be the 1000th day of the conflict in Syria. In that time, over 100,000 people have lost their lives. More than 2 million Syrians have had to flee the country. Another 6 and a half million still within Syria have had to leave their homes. Nearly half the population are now in need of humanitarian assistance.
It’s been 20 years since the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Despite this, it doesn’t seem like the Western mainstream media have figured out how to represent more than a narrow definition of the types of violence women experience during conflict. Too often the focus is only on rape and other forms of sexualized violence.
By Cherian Matthews, Regional Director of Oxfam in Asia
I have just returned from the typhoon-ravaged areas of Daanbantayan and Bantayan Island in Cebu province of the Philippines. When I went there, I had moving images of the destruction on my mind – the helpless faces of women, children and families that were being flashed on T.V channels. But I have come back inspired and moved by the resilience of affected communities, local government agencies and volunteers. In the areas I visited, people are bouncing back from the tragedy inflicted by Typhoon Hayian.
When our rapid assessment teams came back from Leyte and Eastern Samar, they came from a total information blackout into a storm of angry and combative debate on the efficiency of government response to supertyphoon Haiyan victims. A couple of my colleagues marveled at how negative the atmosphere was and admittedly, the debate has gotten pretty exhausting and polarizing. Everywhere I go, whether it’s a dinner, a team meeting, an email exchange or social media, the conversations run along the same questions. Why is government response so slow?
It is only three years since the world was shocked by Haiti’s earthquake and Pakistan’s terrible floods in the same year. That was 2010, and both governments and private donors responded with massive generosity. International humanitarian aid shot up to US$20.2 billion to attempt, at least, to cope with the ‘year of two megadisasters.’
Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm in the world this year and quite possibly the most powerful to ever hit land. Thousands are feared dead, and local emergency food stocks are dwindling.
We are urgently trying to reach 500,000 people affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Our priority is to reach the most vulnerable families with safe water and sanitation facilities.