The Future is Equal

floods

Bangladesh’s Monsoon: At least five killed in Cox’s Bazar camps

At least five people were killed in the Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camps today, as the monsoon floods that hit Southern Bangladesh earlier this month caused severe landslides and left a trail of destruction. Oxfam is mounting a response to address the immediate needs of the most affected people.

“Nearly 300,000 people across 60 union parishads in Cox’s Bazar have been impacted and thousands have been displaced. The monsoon floods lent another hard blow to hundreds of thousands of refugees already recovering from the fury and destruction of Cyclone Mocha last May,” said Ashish Damle, Oxfam in Bangladesh Country Director.

Oxfam staff tell how in the Ukhiya camp-09, one mother and her one-year-old daughter were washed away by the landslide. In Bandarban, Chattogram region, 30,000 people were stranded, and hundreds lost their homes due to landslides.

“People most urgently need food, cash and temporary shelters. They also need essential supplies for children, hygiene kits, raincoats and torchlights. Oxfam, together with our partners, are scaling up response to ensure those most affected receive the support they desperately need. But the heavy rains have also impacted essential infrastructure making our operations challenging”, said Damle.

 

For media inquiries and further information, please contact:

Rachel Schaevitz, Communications Manager, Oxfam Aotearoa

rachel.schaevitz@oxfam.org.nz 

Oxfam India: Poor and marginalised communities most vulnerable to unpredictable floods

Oxfam India is responding to the catastrophic flooding in the National Capital Region and Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand which has claimed more than 150 lives so far. Oxfam India’s humanitarian response will be concentrating on emergency food, water and sanitation, personal hygiene kits and temporary shelters.

Oxfam India’s CEO, Pankaj Anand said, “We are unfortunately witnessing one of the worst floods to hit the nation’s capital in more than 45 years! Floods have wreaked havoc in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand as well. Families living on the banks of Yamuna River have been displaced and are forced to live on the pavements. It remains deeply unjust that the poor and marginalised communities are the most vulnerable right now. With more rains predicted in New Delhi and other parts of North India in the coming days, our humanitarian team’s objectives are to ensure the survival of the worst affected families through improved access to shelter. We will also be focusing on immediate survival through food security and providing material and facilities for maintaining safe and hygienic practices around water sanitation & hygiene”.

Oxfam India has identified the worst affected areas through a rapid vulnerability assessment done in consultation with local partners and other stakeholders. Oxfam India maintains close coordination with Inter Agency Group (IAG), SPHERE, State and National Disaster Management Authority, district level authorities and other actors who are responding to the floods.

Oxfam India’s humanitarian response includes providing safe and clean water for the flood affected communities. Distribution of ‘Hygiene and dignity Kits’ among the affected households. Restoration of Water points that got destroyed or damaged during floods through chlorination and minor repairing. Installation of temporary toilets at the relief camps and at community level. Village and community cleaning and Installation of flood resilient high-raised tube wells for use by the community during future floods and throughout the year.

Given the rapidly changing situation in terms of severity of impact of floods in different geographical areas, Oxfam India will regularly review the project areas and will continue to focus on high impact but underserved areas in Delhi NCR, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and other parts of North India.

Pakistan floods: Oxfam begins relief response and calls for coordinated international action

Oxfam is mounting a humanitarian response to the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan working with a network of local partner organisations. Relief efforts will focus on two of the hardest-hit provinces of Balochistan and Sindh in the south-west of the country. The response will target 25,000 families and households affected by the floods.

Oxfam’s partners are already working to help displaced people and they will decide on the most important support that local people most need, but efforts will likely be concentrated on emergency food, water and sanitation, including things like personal hygiene kits and temporary shelters.

Oxfam is seeking to raise over US$5 million to channel into local organisations over the next 12 months to expand their work. The international aid organisation is warning that recovery and rebuilding efforts will take time and will require a very large coordinated international response.

Oxfam Pakistan staff say the wild and heavy monsoon rain has produced a climate-induced humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. Pakistan has declared a national emergency with more than 33 million people, or 15 percent of the population, affected; more than 1,000 people killed; a million homes and two million hectares of crop lands destroyed. These figures will grow. Oxfam is calling on a proportionate huge response of aid by the international community.

Farah Munawar, Resilience and Livelihoods Project Manager, Oxfam Pakistan, said:

“Many of those who have lost their homes are now living on roadsides, leading to serious security and safety issues specifically for women and girls, but also the wider community. There is insufficient access to clean drinking water, hygiene, toilets and sanitation facilities. Women and girls have extremely poor access to hygiene supplies.

“Affected people in Pakistan require urgent access to basic resources and facilities, including clean water, food and shelter.”

Syed Shahnawaz Ali, Country Director, Oxfam Pakistan, said:

“We have to say it as it is — the humanitarian and environmental devastation we are experiencing is a result of climate change. Floods are not uncommon in Pakistan, but this is flooding on a scale bigger than anything we have ever seen.

“The rain patterns have become very unpredictable, and we are bracing for further downpours in September. It seems very likely that the scale of the challenges we face are bigger than we have seen reported so far. Further work is required to assess the full extent of this unfolding crisis.

“Oxfam is ramping up relief efforts and we’re calling for coordinated international action to tackle the enormous scale of this catastrophe. Only a well-resourced international response can prevent further loss of human life and injury over the coming weeks and months.

“It remains deeply unjust that Pakistan, which is responsible for less than 1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, is one of the countries most vulnerable to severe weather due to the effects of climate change. It should be clear that Pakistan should not be made to pay the price for the carbon emissions of the richest countries in the world.”

 

Please give to Oxfam Aotearoa’s Pakistan Disaster Response fund.

Notes:

  • 33 million affected – that’s almost six times New Zealand’s population
  • An area the size of Aotearoa flooded
  • Over 1,000 people dead since June
  • Roads: 3,037 km damaged
  • Bridges: 130 bridge damaged
  • Shops: 109 shops damaged
  • Houses: 495,259 houses have been (197,182 fully and 298,077 partially) damaged
  • Livestock: 708,098 livestock perished

As rains in South Sudan start again, communities face more flooding amid a growing hunger crisis, says Oxfam

Increased flooding in South Sudan threatens to deepen the dire hunger crisis, with an estimated 8.3 million people expected to experience severe food insecurity in the coming months.

Just weeks after devastating floodwaters finally receded across South Sudan, rains have begun again with dire humanitarian consequences expected.

In this narrow window between receding and rising waters, Oxfam and other humanitarians are acting urgently to reach communities that had been cut off by flooding and unrest to assess the need. As the full scale of the crisis is becoming clearer, the humanitarian community is scaling up our response and preparations to help communities cope with the current rainy season and calling for more resources and access to save lives.

The arrival of a heavy rainy season has left communities without a chance to recover – if projections hold true, the current rainy season will potentially bring additional flooding later this year and another cycle of hunger, displacement, and disease.

This is the latest in an unprecedented cycle of climate disasters, as cycles of extreme drought followed by heavy rainfall have caused devastating floods for the fifth consecutive year in South Sudan. The worst impacts have been felt in Upper Nile, Lakes, and Jonglei states, affecting 835,000 people, and forcing 350,000 to flee their homes, according to OCHA. This flooding is one of the many-layered crises, in addition to intercommunal conflict, COVID-19, and more, that is leading to a growing hunger crisis across the country. One that has already left over 7.19 million people struggling with crisis levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or higher).

According to the 2022 HNO, the people of South Sudan will experience the highest level of food insecurity in their history with an estimated 8.3 million people (including refugees) expected to experience severe food insecurity by the peak of the lean season (May – July 2022), 7% more than 2021 which had 7.7 million people at the same level during the same period. To respond to this hunger crisis Oxfam South Sudan alongside other Oxfam Countries in the horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia) has declared the Hunger crisis a Category 1 emergency calling for an urgent humanitarian scale-up. Through this response, Oxfam South Sudan hopes to reach 383,000 people with a multi-sectorial lifesaving Food Security, WASH, and Protection response.

Oxfam in South Sudan’s Acting Country Director, Juliet Moriku Balikowa said, “After historic flooding, families have been pushed past the brink. We’re just now able to reach some of the worst-impacted communities, and soon many will be cut off again by more rains. So many people are without clean drinking water and safe hygiene and have lost their homes, crops, livestock, and livelihoods – the tools they would need to get back on their feet. The flooding is only the latest deadly challenge South Sudanese people are facing and we will only see this hunger crisis grow exponentially if we don’t see a massive and urgent humanitarian scale-up. We have a narrow window and donors, leaders, and humanitarians must act now.”

Hunger is a massive threat and is only set to grow – There were already areas of South Sudan categorized as “famine-likely” last year, and this additional climate shock has driven communities into an even deeper food crisis, such as farmland, crops, seeds, and livestock have been devastated. These losses are especially painful in a context of already severe levels of hunger and where the resilience of communities has been seriously eroded by years of conflict.

The flooding has additional knock-on effects – it has forced people into cramped communal living – another risk during COVID-19 – on top of the risks of sexual and gender-based violence and other health risks. It’s also putting South Sudan’s fragile education system in jeopardy as many schools have been forced to close while they’re used as shelters for the displaced. As Oxfam reported last year, school disruptions are particularly harmful to girls, who have struggled to pick their studies back up due to increased child marriage, family obligations, and more.

While Oxfam and partners have been adapting to address the flooding and its impacts, the response is insufficient due to funding, access, and other factors – and people’s needs are growing by the day as their small savings and other coping measures run out.“In Walgak, after distribution of unconditional cash assistance to 500 most vulnerable households, most of which have children and women suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition and Moderate Acute Malnutrition. We see them feeling helpless and overwhelmed as their needs surpass our resources. We are concerned that women are still seen walking long hours to get wild foods to feed their families”, says Lakes Tesfaw, Oxfam Program Manager in Walgak.

Oxfam condemns the continued violence against humanitarians and civilians and calls on the government and armed groups to ensure that humanitarians are protected as they deliver lifesaving aid. The recent attacks on aid workers add to a terrible legacy of violence that makes South Sudan one of the most dangerous places in the world to deliver humanitarian assistance and appealing to those with power to provide unhindered access to humanitarian workers

 Ms. Balikowa added, “South Sudanese communities impacted by repeated flooding and growing hunger – on top of the seemingly endless cycle of challenges they meet every day – need urgent support so they can recover, rebuild, and form a foundation to withstand future shocks like these. But, in the long term, the people of South Sudan ultimately need sustainable peace – to help prepare for and respond to massive issues like the climate crisis together. Communities and the humanitarian workers striving to support them must be protected and given the resources to meet these challenges head-on.”

 

Notes:

Oxfam response to Kerala floods

Oxfam India is preparing emergency relief and assistance for people affected by one of the worst floods in the history of Kerala.

The floods have affected more than one million people, left hundreds of thousands homeless and claimed the lives of 324 people to date.

Following a rapid assessment of the situation Oxfam India is preparing to respond in Idduki and Wayanad district initially – and then scaling up to cover Alappuzha, Palakkad and Pathanamthitta.

Pankaj Anand, Oxfam India’s Director of Programs and Humanitarian Response said:

“We will put our experience and expertise on water, hygiene and sanitation into action in Kerala. Oxfam will be providing safe drinking water and toilets as well as supporting village cleaning drives and debris removal to prevent the outbreak of disease. We will also be providing temporary shelters, food and hygiene supplies.  The personal hygiene of women and girls will be a priority and we are preparing for the large scale distribution of ‘dignity kits.”

Floods and landslides have caused massive destruction. Houses in most districts are submerged and inaccessible, crops are damaged and livestock has been killed. People are stranded, running out of food and clean water, and making desperate appeals for help through social media and other channels.

Conditions remain challenging for the emergency response – the airport is closed, public transport systems have been suspended, phone towers are broken, and the power supply is out. Oxfam is working with the Indian government, local partners and other agencies on coordinated efforts to help those in need.

Amitabh Behar, Oxfam India CEO, said:

“We are concerned about the rising death toll. The situation is grim but the scale of the tragedy will not be clear until affected areas become more accessible. While rescue and relief are the priority in the short term, the enormity of this catastrophe means ongoing support will be needed with recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

“Multiple agencies must come together to provide relief. The international community will need to back the efforts that the Indian government and people are making in response to this unprecedented crisis,” added Behar.

Donations to support Oxfam’s emergency responses around the world can be made online at oxfam.org.nz/drf or by calling 0800 600 700.

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