Oxfam: UN aid operation needs urgent funding and scale up

Published: 22 November 2005

Hundreds of thousands of people out in the cold - Oxfam International is calling on the United Nations to immediately scale up its aid operation on the ground in Pakistan and for international donors to properly fund the aid response.

Six weeks after the devastating earthquake that claimed the lives of an estimated 80,000 people and made a further 3.5 million homeless, the UN response to this disaster is severely lacking in resources and personnel on the ground. Many countries have failed to properly fund the UN appeal leaving hundreds of thousands of survivors more vulnerable.

As government representatives from around the world meet in Islamabad to discuss relief and reconstruction efforts, Oxfam is calling for a co-ordinated response, to ensure that survivors' voices are heard and needs are met. Only then can the disaster turn from hopelessness and devastation into a chance to rebuild better.

"If lives are to be saved, the relief operations must be dramatically scaled up. The international donor's conference will be a test of commitment. If the political will for these aims is there, effective relief and reconstruction is possible." says Jane Cocking, Oxfam's humanitarian co-ordinator in Pakistan.

Oxfam International's report 'A Mountain To Climb', issued a day ahead of the International Donor Conference concludes that:

  • Donor countries need to provide their fair share of the emergency relief required. The UN must be properly funded to scale up their operation in the Pakistan earthquake area and provide it with personnel and material. Humanitarian principles and standards must be upheld.

  • Civil society monitoring and open discussion about successes and challenges in the earthquake response will help the Government of Pakistan and international community to revise and improve the delivery mechanisms and ensure the effective implementation of the reconstruction plan.

  • The international community needs to fulfil its obligations not only in the relief phase but in reconstruction too.

"The decisions made at this conference could lift hundreds and thousands of people out of poverty, many of whom before the earthquake lacked access to even basic care and education. We must ensure that this conference isn't just another talking shop, but a real opportunity for lasting change and for civil society to be empowered, " says Jane Cocking.

Download the briefing paper 'A Mountain To Climb'.

Contact Information

For more information contact:
Oxfam International in Islamabad: Shaista Aziz on +92 300 856 0632, or Daud Malik on +92 333 547 6984
Oxfam International in Muzaffarabad: Loes Visser on +92 300 856 8417