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 Parma struck the Philippines on Saturday. The storm is the country's second in eight days. The capital, Manila, escaped the worst of the storm, but the north has been harder hit. Manila has been experiencing heavy rainfall since Friday evening.
Arif Jabbar Khan, who is heading Oxfam’s emergency response in Manila, said:
“We were lucky in Manila, but they haven’t been in the north of the country, and although Manila has not been hit directly, it has been raining since last night. The winds here are much stronger than usual. The water levels in the lakes and rivers in Manila are rising again because of heavy rain.
“The government is planning to send assessment teams to the north by helicopter. The roads have been completely washed away – and the area is only accessible by helicopter. It is late in the Philippines now and it is hard to know yet whether the situation is as bad or much worse than when Ketsana hit. Communication is down. Staff here are huddled around the radio listening to the local stations for updates and are worried about families and friends in the north of the country.
“Parma didn’t strike until the evening, so people have been worrying and about it all day. We have been packing our aid for distribution in Manila tomorrow. Some staff said that it helped them keep their minds off their worries about the second storm. Typhoon season is not over, so we may have to be braced for other days like these.”
Oxfam is helping 25,000 of the worst affected families in the Philippines by providing water and non-food items like blankets, soaps, cleaning equipment, clothes and water containers. Oxfam is also providing small cash grants and shelter at evacuation sites as part of its initial response.
Oxfam has launched an emergency appeal for the multiple disasters that have occurred in Asia this week. Oxfam has teams working around the clock in Indonesia to respond to the earthquake in Sumatra. Aid teams are also responding to the aftermath of Typhoon Ketsana in Cambodia and Vietnam.