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.
Oxfam is gearing up its aid efforts after one of the worst natural disasters to hit the Philippines in years. The international agency is looking to raise $16 million to reach half a million people affected by Typhoon Haiyan.
Oxfam’s Deputy Humanitarian Director, Graham Mackay, said: “This is one of the worst natural disasters in years to hit the region and it will be a race against time to get help to the communities that have been devastated.”
Oxfam’s rapid assessment teams have been deployed to Samar, Leyte and Northern Cabu to provide emergency supplies of water, sanitation and shelter. An aid shipment from the UK is expected to be dispatched within the next 48 hours.
Graham Mackay said: “Our main concern is getting relief to the worst affected areas. Because communications are down the real extent of this horrific disaster is still not known.”
Current estimates are that 4.46 million people – nearly one million families – from 36 provinces have been affected and over 10,000 people are thought to have lost their lives.
The most urgent needs are for food, water and shelter. Communities also need to have power and communications restored and roads need to be cleared so that aid can get through.
Notes to editors
Oxfam is appealing for $16 million to help 500,000 people affected. To donate please go to: www.oxfam.org/haiyan
Oxfam has spokespeople in the Philippines and the UK, to arrange an interview please contact:
Ian Bray on 01865 472289 / 07721 461339 / email@example.com
Sarah Dransfield on 01865 472269 / 07767 085636 / firstname.lastname@example.org