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.
It has been six months since the 2011-12 monsoon rains caused severe flooding in Sindh, affecting nearly five million people.
After the floods, people have lost seed stock, standing crops, livestock and other productive assets in the floods, and they have fewer labor opportunities than before. Now families are finding it difficult to obtain basic items. Their way of coping includes eating less for a meal and having fewer meals per day, and obtaining food through credit or borrowing. This means: people are going hungry.
Most of the 1.8 million people who were made homeless by the floods have been able to return to their villages. But in many places flood water is still standing. This not only undermines the potential for planting Rabi crops (normally in November and December) but also delays early recovery programs. The endless row of makeshift tents may no longer be seen along the roadside, but most people are still struggling without proper shelter.
Oxfam is helping people rebuild their lives. In Kareem Bux Sanjrani, in Sanghar, for instance, we are assisting flood-affected families in meeting their immediate, minimum food needs. The program includes conditional cash grants, cash-for-work and vouchers. Cash transfers such as these have been identified by Oxfam and our partners as the best way to assist families in meeting their urgent food needs without further depleting their assets. We are also providing animal fodder and kitchen sets.