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.
Late in the evening of 15 November 2007, Cyclone Sidr struck Mahmouda’s home and thousands of other villages across Bangladesh’s southern coastal areas, leaving around 4000 people dead and millions homeless. The initial response to the disaster was prompt and vigorous, but three months after the disaster the affected communities’ needs – particularly in terms of housing and livelihoods – remain staggering. This briefing note describes the issues where Oxfam believes swift action is needed in order to ensure an appropriate and effective response to the disaster.