A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
International aid agency Oxfam today began tanking clean water into Padang, as part of the relief effort for the many people affected by last Wednesday’s 7.6 magnitude earthquake.
Oxfam’s Indonesia Emergency Response Manager David MacDonald said providing clean water was an immediate priority for the agency.
The local water supply was severely damaged by the earthquake, and the cost of water has doubled from 4,500 rupiahs ($0.47) before the earthquake, to 8,000 rupiahs ($0.94) per gallon now,” Mr. MacDonald said.
“Oxfam has one water tanker that can deliver 5,000 liters of water already in action, and we are flying in three water purification plants that will provide enough clean water for more than 40,000 people.
“Getting aid into the affected areas hasn’t been easy. The earthquake destroyed roads, and there have also been fuel shortages. Oxfam’s local partners have been on the ground working tirelessly since the earthquake first struck, handing out emergency supplies, including 5,000 tarpaulins for shelter.
“We’re now boosting the efforts of our partners with extra supplies and staff arriving in Padang from both elsewhere in Indonesia and overseas. This includes extra tarpaulins, as well as JCBs (high powered tractors) which will help with clearing away debris,” Mr. MacDonald said.
Oxfam is working closely with other with other agencies, including the local government and the Red Cross, to ensure that aid being delivered is well coordinated and is getting to where it is needed.
“We know that good coordination is vital in making sure that people get the support they need quickly. Sometimes that support doesn’t happen as immediately as we’d all like, but Oxfam and others are working quickly and efficiently under challenging circumstances.
“The needs are huge in Padang and they don’t just include initial emergency supplies. Oxfam is also looking at how best we can help people to get back on their feet quickly – those affected need to be able to get on with rebuilding their lives from the devastation,” Mr. MacDonald said.