Press Releases

Oxfam ready to respond to the catastrophic attack on Yemen’s Hodeidah port

Hodeida port is key to imports of food, fuel, medicine for humanitarian aid
 
Oxfam and partners are preparing for the potentially devastating aftermath of the attack on Yemen’s Hodeidah port as the military offensive threatens more lives already hanging in the balance. 
 
The aid agency has been working in Yemen for over 35 years and responded to the escalation of the present crisis in 2015 with the support of Irish Aid.  
 
With more than 22 million people reliant on humanitarian aid and more than 8 million people one step away from famine, Oxfam and other organisations have long warned of the humanitarian fallout of such an attack. Hodeida is a key port on the Red Sea in Yemen through which up to 80% of the country’s food and 50% of its fuel flow as well as critical medicines
 
Jim Clarken, Oxfam Ireland’s Chief Executive, said: “The failure to stop the attack on Hodeidah port is a death sentence for the millions of Yemeni people already in desperate need of food, water and humanitarian assistance."
 
“At its worst, the UN warns that this attack will leave 250,000 dead – the equivalent of the entire population of County Galway – and hundreds of thousands more in need. For people who have already had the lifelines of food, fuel and medicine blocked for years, this attack on Hodeida means only one thing – more death, more destruction and more needless suffering. "
 
“Since 2015, we have reached more that 2.8 million people across Yemen with life-saving supplies, including water, sanitation, food and cash assistance – and we’ll work to reach even more as the fallout of the attack on Hodeidah port becomes clear. "
 
“It’s vital that the hundreds of thousands of people affected by this violence are able to access life-saving support. We’re calling for the Irish government and world leaders to take action to urge all parties to the conflict to do everything possible to protect civilians and avoid hindering humanitarian access, a critical obligation under international humanitarian law.”
 
Oxfam has been in Yemen since 1983. Since 2015, Oxfam has reached more than 2.8 million people in nine governorates of Yemen, providing water and sanitation services – including as part of a cholera response to prevent and contain the disease. Oxfam is also trucking water as well as providing cash assistance and food vouchers. 
 
ENDS
 
Oxfam spokespeople available for interview in the region and in Dublin.
 
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: Alice Dawson-Lyons, +353 83 198 1869, alice.dawsonlyons@oxfamireland.org
 
NOTES TO EDITORS
 
Oxfam is calling for the parties to the conflict in Yemen to: 
immediately cease violence to prevent further humanitarian suffering, including loss of life and risk of famine;
avoid undermining opportunity for the resolution of the conflict through dialogue rather than military means;
ensure dialogue for conflict resolution is inclusive of diversity of Yemeni population and includes voice and meaningful participation of women in keeping with UN resolutions on women, peace and security;
protect and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and protection in Yemen without risk to aid personnel delivering it or the civilian population in accessing it.
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Oxfam: Hodeida offensive must be stopped to save lives and the chance for peace

The UN and NGOs received warnings over the weekend for staff to evacuate Hodeida by Tuesday ahead of the offensive, affirming the humanitarian community’s worst fears for Yemen. The UN peace envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths has already said that this attack would “take peace off the table in a single stroke,” and the UN has cited the worst case scenario: 250,000 dead, with hundreds of thousands more affected. 
 
Oxfam’s Yemen Country Director Muhsin Siddiquey said, “It’s hard to imagine how life for the people of Yemen could get any more difficult, but an attack on Hodeida will bring more death, destruction and push vital resources like food, fuel and medicine even further out of reach.  To avert catastrophe, we call on the international community, including the UN Security Council, to call for de-escalation and restraint, and to exert pressure and take action to ensure the parties keep Hodeida and Saleef ports open and uphold their obligation under international humanitarian law to protect civilians.” 
 
The people of Yemen have already had the lifelines of food, fuel and medicine blocked for years, but the offensive on Hodeida will massively escalate this humanitarian crisis while millions already are on the brink of famine. Oxfam is hearing from local NGOs that there has been a dramatic increase in families forced to leave their homes in the last couple of days. Truck drivers are too frightened to enter Hodeida to move vital food and supplies, and businesses are closing, leaving civilians in the war path without basic supplies. The fact that this attack would happen during Ramadan makes it even more difficult for families to prepare.
 
Siddiquey said, “Even with these warnings, this assault and escalation of the conflict is not a foregone conclusion – there is time for all parties to navigate a path to peace and save countless lives, and the international community must continue to stand up for this peace and the lives of the Yemeni people.”

Oxfam fears worsening humanitarian needs in Gaza

 

Oxfam today warned that prolonged closure of crossings into Gaza could cut Palestinians from essential goods such as fuel and food and threatens to further deteriorate what is already a dire humanitarian situation. 

Israel’s 10-year blockade of Gaza has caused infrastructure and services to collapse, provoking a humanitarian crisis for nearly two million people, mostly refugees, who have been effectively trapped inside. 

Some forty percent of Gaza's population struggle to get enough to eat.  Unemployment is over forty percent and over 23,500 have been displaced from their homes due to the aftermath of the last war in 2014.

Jim Clarken, Oxfam Ireland’s Chief Executive, said: 

“The vital Karem Shalom crossing, one of the only entry points for goods in and out of Gaza, was damaged three days ago and is now closed, or opening for limited goods. If this continues, this could spark a further fuel shortage which would hit agricultural irrigation. Oxfam is working to rehabilitate a number of irrigation wells in Gaza but we don’t have a Plan B at this stage. The knock-on inflation on food prices would hit poor families hard and quickly.” 

Any sudden fuel shortage would also hit Gaza’s vital desalination plants which ninety percent of the people of Gaza depend on. 

Mr Clarken said: "Oxfam condemns the killings of at least 58 demonstrators in Gaza. The international community must take strong and urgent action to end the violence and ensure restraint from all sides.  The killings should be investigated – independently and immediately – for any breach of international law and those found guilty be brought to justice. " 

Oxfam is currently helping 258,000 people in Gaza providing food and vital water and sanitation. 

-ends-

 

For more information or interviews, please contact Phillip Graham, Oxfam Ireland, on +44 (0) 7841 102535 or at phillip.graham@oxfamireland.org 

Fashion Relief’s online auction offers amazing treasures from legends of entertainment, sport and style

Public bids for items from BonoCillian Murphy and Rob Kearney to tackle hunger crisis.
 
 
Anyone who missed the fantastic FASHION RELIEF extravaganza in Dublin’s RDS last weekend still has the chance to grab some unique and iconic items donated by stars from the world of Irish fashion, rugby and entertainment. 
 
U2’s Bono, Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy, rugby legends Rob Kearney and Andrew Trimble, broadcaster and Fashion Relief founder Lorraine Keane and leading artist Orla Walsh made special donations. 
 
The online auction, which runs until Sunday [May 20th], offers the public an opportunity to bid on some truly amazing treasures, while raising vital funds for Oxfam Ireland’s hunger crisis appeal.
 
Items include:
international rock star Bono’s iconic sunglasses
an original Peaky Blinders cap signed by Cillian Murphy
an Alexander McQueen Limited Edition Blue Clutch Purse With Skull, valued at €2,000; donated by Lorraine Keane
a sophisticated Alexander McQueen Leather Shoulder Bag, valued at €1600; 
rugby jersey and ball signed by Ireland and Leinster rugby icon and Six Nations winner Rob Kearney
rugby jersey signed by Ireland and Ulster rugby player Andrew Trimble; and
a large framed pop art Tayto painting, valued at €950, by the mistress of Irish pop art Orla Walsh.
 
 
Lorraine Keane said: “Thank you to all those who attended for making the first year of Fashion Relief an amazing success! And in case you missed the big day, there's still a selection of amazing items on sale via the online auction – from rock star royalty to movie stars and sporting legends, and an iconic artefact from a major TV show.”
 
For more information on the online auction, visit www.fashionrelief.ie, call +353 (0) 1 672 7662 or email info@oxfamireland.org.
 
 
 
ENDS
 
CONTACT: For more information or interviews, please contact Phillip Graham, Oxfam Ireland, on +44 (0) 7841 102535 or at phillip.graham@oxfamireland.org  
 
NOTES TO THE EDITOR: 
 
About FASHION RELIEF: 
 
FASHION RELIEF is raising funds to help some of the 20 million men, women and children affected by the hunger crisis and in need of urgent help in South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Yemen.
 
The online auction follows the FASHION RELIEF event in the RDS in Dublin on Sunday May 13. The fundraising event showcased rail after rail of designer and pre-loved clothes donated by the public and also by stars, including host Lorraine Keane, Oxfam Ireland ambassadors Andrew Trimble and Lorna Weightman as well as Miriam O’Callaghan, Brent Pope, Roseanna Davison, Mary Kennedy, James Patrice, Rob Kearney, Guggi, Noel Cunningham, Glenda Gilson, Joe Conlan, Laura Woods, Colette Fitzpatrick, Helen Steele, Deborah Veale, Melissa Curry, Liam Cunningham, Aisling O’Loughlin and more.
 
About the hunger crisis: 
 
Right now, the world is facing unprecedented levels of hunger as drought, disaster, famine and conflict threaten the lives of millions of people. 20 million people across East Africa – more than three times the population of the island of Ireland – are facing severe hunger, surviving only on what they can find to eat.
 
Oxfam is on the ground, providing those suffering with life-saving aid including clean water, food and other essentials. The profits raised from Fashion Relief will go towards Oxfam Ireland’s hunger crisis appeal, supporting those in need in East Africa, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen. 
 
About the items for online auction:
 
Bono’s sunglasses
Here’s your chance to bag a piece of rock music history as iconic U2 frontman Bono has donated a pair of his trademark stylish sunglasses for Fashion Relief. A genuine slice of rock ‘n’ roll cool, whatever the weather.
 
Peaky Blinders Flat Cap signed by Cillian Murphy 
TV show Peaky Blinders is a major success – mainly because of its Irish star, Cillian Murphy, who plays Tommy Shelby, everyone’s favourite bad boy, and his gang of Birmingham hard men in their peaked caps. Now’s your chance to nab an original Peaky Blinders cap signed by the star himself! 
 
Alexander McQueen Limited Edition Blue Clutch Purse With Skull
Alexander McQueen skull clutch in midnight blue epitomises decadent romance and modern energy – donated by Lorraine Keane to Fashion Relief, one of the last bags designed by McQueen before his death. Valued at €2,000. 
 
Alexander McQueen Leather Shoulder Bag
Sophisticated and effortless, this brown leather handbag from Alexander McQueen, known for his mix of couture and energy, is the ultimate style item. It features a front flap closure, round top handles and is valued at €1600. 
 
Rob Kearney signed Leinster Rugby Jersey and signed Leinster Rugby Ball
Ireland and Leinster rugby icon and Six Nations winner Rob Kearney has signed an original rugby jersey and ball for Fashion Relief – the supreme memento of a legendary player in a legendary season.
 
Andrew Trimble signed rugby jersey 
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Andrew Trimble, Ulster’s most capped player who retired this year following a stellar career, has signed an original rugby jersey for Fashion Relief – the supreme memento of a legendary player and his legendary career.
www.fashionrelief.ie for auction details
 
Orla Walsh large framed pop art Tayto painting 
The mistress of Irish pop art Orla Walsh’s depiction of iconic brands such as Tayto, Guinness and Heinz have attracted international attention as they evoke “a sense of nostalgia.” This magnificent framed original Tayto canvas, measuring 840mm 594 mm, is valued at €950.
 
Some items are yet to be added to the site.
 
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I’m thrilled at the support for Fashion Relief, says Lorraine Keane

The countdown has officially started – and I’ve been blown away by the support I’ve received from friends in the industry. So many well-known faces from the world of television, rugby, entertainment and fashion volunteered their time to join me at the launch of FASHION RELIEF – Ireland’s biggest fashion fundraiser in aid of the hunger crisis overseas.
 
Glenda Gilson and Sarah Morrissey joined me for the launch of Fashion Relief 
 
I returned from a visit to East Africa last November and quickly realised that very little was being reported on the region’s hunger crisis. How can 20 million people facing starvation not be big news? I also thought about the amount of stuff I have. So many of us have too much while others have nothing. 
 
So I decided to organise an event that I would enjoy – a fun day out of fashion shows and shopping where everyone could bag a designer bargain, and celebrities could sell their unwanted clothes and accessories to help others. I approached Oxfam Ireland and FASHION RELIEF was born! 
 
Oxfam Ireland is the perfect charity to work with, because not only do they work in these areas, they also have 48 shops nationwide where the public can drop off their donated items. Together, we knew we could make a difference.
 
I’m really excited to be hosting such a unique event for such a great cause – and looking forward to seeing you in the RDS on Sunday 13th May for what promises to be a day of designer bargains from the wardrobes of both the public and the stars.
 
There’ll be something for everyone, with clothes and accessories starting at just €5. We’ll also be showcasing new pieces from designers and retailers as well as lots of pre-loved donations – not just mine, but from people like Oxfam Ireland ambassadors Andrew Trimble and Lorna Weightman, and celebrities like Cillian Murphy, Miriam O’Callaghan, Brent Pope, Rozanna Purcell, Liam Cunningham, Yvonne Connolly and Kathryn Thomas. The list is endless!
 
 Rob Kearney, Miriam O'Callaghan and Brent Pope also lent a hand
 
Some of my friends in the industry have kindly offered to staff stalls on the day, while others will be modelling their designer donations during two fashion shows – at 1pm and 3pm. Everyone I know is eager to do their bit. So please, come and join us – you could be making a world of difference.
Tickets for FASHION RELIEF are just €5 – and are on sale now.
 
 
Even if you’ve already got your ticket in the bag, there are lots of other ways to get involved.
 
Donate your pre-loved clothes and accessories
  1. Bag up any pre-loved or new clothes, accessories or handbags – just make sure they’re in good condition and ready for the sale rail.
  2. Clearly label the bag/box FASHION RELIEF.
  3. Drop the bag/box to the nearest Oxfam Ireland shop. Find out where at oxfamireland.org/shops
Or you can organise a workplace clothing collection (men’s and women’s clothes and accessories) and Oxfam Ireland will pick it up directly from you. Just click here for more.
 
Volunteer on the day
Become part of the action by volunteering at FASHION RELIEF. You could even staff your own stall, joining some of the stars who have generously pledged their clothes and time. Click here to find out more.
 
Unwind at a VIP after-party at the InterContinental Hotel
Come and join me for a glass of champers from 5pm that evening. The InterContinental is inviting anyone attending FASHION RELIEF to an exclusive VIP after-party from 5pm in its gorgeously chic ICE Bar. Thanks to our sponsors, the InterContinental Hotel and Marks & Spencer Ireland, you can enjoy a glass of champagne and nibbles and relax after a day’s shopping for just €20. All proceeds go to FASHION RELIEF. Places are limited so booking is essential.
 
 
For more details on FASHION RELIEF, visit fashionrelief.ie 

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