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.
Typhoon Pablo’s agricultural damage reaches $282 million mark
New Bataan, Compostella Valley, Philippines (December 12, 2012) – “Government must allot funds for livelihoods recovery and food security of Typhoon Pablo’s affected communities.” This is based on results of the Human Response Consortium (HRC) and Oxfam’s assessment in the areas of New Bataan in Compostella Valley, and Boston and Cateel in Davao Oriental.
The findings came as the Department of Agriculture released Wednesday of P 11.57 billion ($282 million) estimated total agricultural damages brought about by Typhoon Pablo. The HRC and the international humanitarian agency Oxfam have been delivering its emergency response here since Saturday.
“While the HRC and Oxfam are responding to the urgent needs of the people here like water and hygiene, we must, at the same time, think about the livelihoods situation of the affected areas in the coming months. We call on the government to allot resources for food security and livelihoods recovery of the people particularly in Davao Oriental and Compostella Valley,” says Kevin Lee, response manager for HRC’s and Oxfam’s Typhoon Pablo Emergency Response.
“There are urgent needs right now like food and water but in the long term, the bigger issue here is livelihoods. The banana plantations have been completely destroyed and the coconut plantations, rice crops and the trees have all fallen down. They might be able to survive in this first month, but what about the coming months and years? The challenge for the community is long-term since people here grow bananas and coconuts for a living,” adds Paul del Rosario, Oxfam Humanitarian Program Coordinator.
In New Bataan, one of the hardest hit areas in Compostela Valley province, HRC and Oxfam has installed 5,000-liter water bladder-tanks. Aside from providing safe drinking water, HRC and Oxfam emergency response plan also focuses on protecting the health of the affected people particularly women and children from contacting diseases.
“Some women in the affected areas complained that they do not have access to toilets and bathing cubicles. Thus, the emergency response plan is to set up waste disposal system and as part of the cash-for-work program, we will get some people in the community to help in the construction work so that temporary latrines can be installed in the areas where families are displaced,” explains Lee.
Access to food is also a critical issue in the affected areas, the findings of the HRC-led emergency response team revealed. Public markets and bridges have been destroyed so even if people were given cash grants, they would have to travel far just to buy food. The costs of transportation have significantly increased in the aftermath of the typhoon.
“We are looking at a massive livelihood, food insecurity situation here, that will last, cannot be addressed quickly and will need key resources. This problem will not go away in a year’s time; this problem will not go away with Oxfam and HRC providing water, sanitation or even cash grants. Food security and livelihoods are bigger issues here that have to be addressed by the government,” says Del Rosario.
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Notes to editors
The Humanitarian Response Consortium supported by Oxfam is made up of:
- A Single Drop for Safe Water (ASDSW);
- the Kadtuntaya Foundation (KFI);
- Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Network (PDRRN) and
- Rural Development Institute of Sultan Kudarat (RDISK).
Jed Alegado, Oxfam’s Media & Communications Officer, +63 928-5042911; +63 922-5409474; firstname.lastname@example.org