Oxfam have regretfully begun the immediate withdrawal of Tsunami Emergency Relief collection tins from the Auckland region, following a spate of thefts from Auckland stores. In the three weeks since the tsunami, Oxfam volunteers have distributed tins to retail outlets throughout the country.
This afternoon, the New Zealand government is expected to announce a substantial increase in aid to the tsunami-affected countries. Oxfam welcomes the increase in New Zealand's aid commitment. This aid will assist in longer term reconstruction, long after the tsunami has gone from the media headlines.
Today thousands of debt campaigners in over 20 countries worldwide, as far apart as Germany, Yemen and Uganda mobilised to call for the full cancellation of debts owed by the poorest countries. Campaigners in several countries targeted the German, Japanese, Canadian and US embassies in their capital cities, calling on these countries to agree to cancel the debt.
Oxfam New Zealand's tsunami appeal reached $1.2million today and will grow further as contributions from individuals, businesses and institutions continue to arrive, raising further funds for Oxfam's immediate relief and long-term reconstruction work in the tsunami-affected region.
Rich countries meeting in Paris today are failing to take the bold steps needed on debt, said Oxfam today. Rather than agreeing to cancel significant proportions of debt, they seem set to go for the easy option of a temporary suspension of repayments, which will then be reapplied in a few months.
The donor nations meeting in Paris today must not only suspend all debt repayments from tsunami-affected countries, but go further and cancel a substantial proportion of the debts permanently, Oxfam said today. Any cancellation or moratorium should only have one condition; that it is spent transparently on poverty reduction and reconstruction.
As governments from the world's richest countries meet to pledge their support for relief and reconstruction in the wake of the tsunami, Oxfam New Zealand welcomes the Government's newly-announced plan to allocate an extra $20 million per year for three to five years for the disaster.
An Oxfam aid flight carrying 27 tonnes of water and sanitation equipment left the UK for Indonesia this morning (GMT: Sunday 9 January). The plane load, worth NZ$390,000, will help provide clean water to families who have been affected by the disaster.
On the eve of the historic signing of the Sudan peace agreement, international agency Oxfam warns that 1.6 million people in neighbouring northern Uganda will continue to face a terrible humanitarian crisis following the collapse of the ceasefire between the Government of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army on 1 January 2005.
Oxfam New Zealand's Water Programme Manager, Kate Medlicott, leaves for the disaster-struck region of northern Sri Lanka tonight. Medlicott (31), a water and sanitation engineer, leaves Auckland at 21:00 hours and is expected to arrive in Colombo late tomorrow. She will be met by Oxfam operational staff there and will proceed to the Tamil-controlled northern region to join the growing Oxfam team on the ground.