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Oxfam launches emergency appeal as cyclone leaves hundreds of thousands homeless in southern Africa, with many feared dead

  • Cyclone Idai made landfall on Thursday, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes
  • Oxfam issues urgent appeal to help 775,000 people affected by the disaster
Wednesday 20th March 2019
 
Oxfam and partners are scaling up their response to urgently reach hundreds of thousands of people after a cyclone, heavy rains and severe flooding devastated regions in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
 
Cyclone Idai made landfall on Thursday (14/03/2019) close to Beira City, in central Mozambique, forcing thousands from their homes and has destroyed much of the region’s infrastructure, making access extremely difficult for those providing humanitarian relief.
 
Oxfam teams are assessing the needs of people who have been reaching internally displaced persons (IDP) camps by land via boats and the international agency will be prioritising shelter and sanitation in response to the large-scale evacuation.
 
A longer-term response will take some time to evaluate, but with an estimated 2.6 million people affected across the region, Oxfam is aiming to reach 775,000 people across the three countries. Oxfam is looking to help 525,000 people in Mozambique, 200,000 in Malawi and 50,000 in Zimbabwe.
 
Oxfam has launched an emergency appeal to meet the immediate needs of those affected by the disaster, with Oxfam Ireland urging the Irish public to donate to its Cyclone Idai Appeal.
 
Oxfam Ireland’s Chief Executive Jim Clarken said: “The full scale of this disaster is still not known and we need to act now. Oxfam is scaling up its response to reach people with essential aid including shelter packs, ready-to-eat food, water purification kits and hygiene supplies to keep people, who have been forced to flee their homes from devastating flooding, safe and healthy.
 
“Anyone who has seen the distressing images and videos coming from southern Africa in recent days will know that this is a major disaster and we’re expecting the death toll to rise significantly. The overwhelming amount of water that has collected on land gives us great concern regarding shelter and sanitation as disease will inevitably spread, putting people at an even greater risk.
 
“In response to what has been described as one of the worst weather-related disasters in the Southern hemisphere, we’re urgently appealing to the public to be generous by donating at oxfamireland.org, or in any of our local shops. Every single donation will go a long way to providing vulnerable people with life-saving support. Thank you.”
 
ENDS
 
Spokespeople are available in the region and in Ireland. For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
 
ROI: Nyle Lennon, Oxfam Ireland: nyle.lennon@oxfam.org or +353 (0) 83 197 5107
NI: Phillip Graham, Oxfam Ireland: phillip.graham@oxfam.org or +44 (0) 7841 102535

Oxfam responding to devastating Cyclone Idai

 
Following on from the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai in Southern Africa, Oxfam’s local humanitarian teams have been assessing the damage caused by this deadly weather event.
 
The most affected countries include Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, with estimations of 1,000 casualties at this early stage. This figure is likely to grow significantly as the real scale of the destruction is understood.
Mozambican flood victims have said that they had to pay to make the trip by canoe. Those that did not have the money remained behind.
 
People trudge through a muddied path to safer ground in Chimanimani, about 600 kilometers southeast of Harare, Zimbabwe. Credit: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP/REX
 
These rising numbers of people to internally displaced persons camps are already putting a strain on limited water supplies. 
 
There are additional concerns that sanitation will soon become a problem and food assistance will need to be brought in to provide extra immunity to the people affected.
 
Oxfam teams are assessing the needs of people in all three countries. They are reporting extensive damage to homes, crops, roads and bridges, and communications. 
 
Some areas have been rendered inaccessible because roads, bridges and phone lines have been washed away.
 
Oxfam teams will be prioritising shelter and sanitation as part of a large-scale evacuation of the worst affected areas. 
 
We urgently need your help to reach people in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe who have been affected by Cyclone Idai. Please give what you can today. 100% of your donation will go to our emergency response.
 
The coming hours and days will be absolutely critical to our life-saving efforts. 

You can help

A donation of €50/£40 can give a month's supply of clean and safe drinking and cooking water for families in need
A donation of €100/£90 can provide a hungry family with enough money to buy food for 3 months
A donation of €125/£100 can give sanitation to 120 people to stop the spread of life-threatening diseases.

 

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Cyclone Idai leaves trail of death, destruction and homelessness in southern Africa

 
 
 
Oxfam will be responding with water, sanitation services, food and other non-food items to people affected by Cyclone Idai that hit Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe on March 14-15. Scores of people have been killed, several hundred more are still missing and almost a million have been left destitute and in need of aid and basic services.
 
Winds of up to 140 km/h destroyed farmlands and damaged houses, some beyond repair. Damage is likely to run into millions of dollars. The Presidents of Zimbabwe and Mozambique have both declared a national disaster. 
 
Oxfam teams are assessing the needs of people worst affected in all three countries. They are reporting extensive damage to homes, crops, roads and bridges, and communications. Some areas have been rendered impassable with roads and bridges and phone lines having been washed away. 
 
“We are still gathering data from the field. It’s clear that three provinces of Zambezia, Sofala and Tete have been hit particularly hard. Information is still trickling in. It is likely that Oxfam will respond in Zambezia and Beira at least,” said Lyn Chinembiri, Oxfam Zimbabwe's Humanitarian Manager in Mozambique. 
 
Oxfam has activated its new “Emergency Response Team” of water and sanitation, food and livelihood experts to assess the chaos. They too have been hampered by broken roads, communications and continuing bad weather.
 
In Malawi, the United Nations estimates that 739,000 people have been affected, exacerbated by floods that hit the country two weeks ago. Oxfam teams are assessing people’s needs in Phalombe and Mulanje districts, which were hit hard by floods.
 
Oxfam with support from the UNICEF in Mozambique and utilizing its emergency funding in Malawi, is initially planning a three month-long response in water, sanitation and hygiene work, including the provision of purifying tablets, buckets and hygiene kits as well food aid to vulnerable households.
 
In Mozambique, Oxfam is part of the COCASA consortium (with CARE, SCF and Concern) that is being led by the General Director of the National Institute of Disaster Management. COCASA is focusing on emergency shelter, water and sanitation services and other provisions and public service support.
 
Oxfam’s Southern Africa Regional Director, Nellie Nyangwa, said: "We regret the loss of life, and the first few days were difficult days as official agencies focused on saving lives and trying to assess the impact of the floods in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. We expect that there will be over a million people affected in the region. We are already beginning to focus on work that will help recover people's livelihoods, prevent water borne diseases, and protect displaced people, with a key focus on women and children."
 
For more information , please contact:
 
ROI:     Nyle Lennon on 083 197 5107 / nyle.lennon@oxfam.org
 
NI:        Phillip Graham on 07841 102535 / phillip.graham@oxfam.org
 

 

Three civilians killed every day in Yemen despite Stockholm agreements

Three civilians are being killed every day in Yemen – that’s one person every eight hours – despite agreements reached between the internationally recognised government and the Houthis at talks in Sweden just over three months ago.
 
In December last year the two parties agreed a ceasefire for the key port of Hudaydah, as well as a prisoner exchange, as the first steps towards negotiating peace in Yemen, where fighting escalated four years ago on 26th March 2015.
 
In the 11 weeks following the agreements, 231 civilians were killed across the country in airstrikes, shelling, by sniper or landmines. A third of those killed were in Hudaydah governorate, despite the cease fire there.
 
56 of those killed were children – a number that would fill two classrooms in the average UK primary school. (Affiliates can adapt this and make a comparison relevant to their market.)
 
The civilian death toll has dropped in the wake of the UN sponsored talks in Sweden; the UN recently reported almost 100 civilians a week were being killed or injured in 2018. But it remains unacceptably high.
 
Muhsin Siddiquey, Oxfam’s Yemen Country Director, said: “Every day that passes without concrete progress towards peace, more Yemenis lose their lives and the suffering deepens for those struggling to find food and shelter amid the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.
 
“The backers of the warring parties are complicit in this man-made crisis; we call on them to stop arming the belligerents. They and the rest of the international community need to do all they can to help bring about a lasting peace in Yemen.”
 
Aside from fatalities, the war continues to take a toll on civilians in other ways. Millions of Yemenis are on the brink of famine due to the withering economy and the closure of key ports to vital food supplies. Oxfam recently met a family forced to make the difficult choice to marry off their three-year-old daughter so that her parents could use the money to buy food and shelter for other family members.
 
Siddiquey added: “Governments that continue to sell arms to any party to the conflict are prolonging and deepening the suffering of millions of Yemenis.
 
“The fighting needs to stop and the governments allowing arms sales for use in Yemen  should instead focus their efforts on securing peace.”
 
Notes to editors
 
Data on the number of civilian deaths has been provided by the UN Civilian Impact Monitoring Project (CIMP). It is unverified open source information but is the only regular reporting mechanism of casualties by the UN.
 
The CIMP data shows 231 civilians died between 13th December 2018, when the talks in Sweden concluded, and 28th February 2019, including 56 children and 43 women. 81 of these fatalities occurred in Hudaydah governorate.
 
ENDS
 
CONTACT: Spokespeople are available for interview. For more, please contact: Alice Dawson-Lyons at alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org or +353 (0) 83 198 1869
 
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Meet the Inspirational Women of Oxfam

 

International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the amazing women we work with – and their incredible achievements.

These women work tirelessly in clever and innovative ways to make change happen and to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. They inspire us every day. 

Sobia, 26, teaches Urdu to students in the city of Multan, Pakistan, where Oxfam has set up Accelerated Learning Centres (ALC) to educate women and girls who never went to school. “Mothers of young girls come forward to appreciate the progress their children have made in my classes,” said Sobia, who was herself trained under the ALC programme. “It’s extremely heartening.”

Fifty-two-year-old Katembelwa is the only female brazier maker in Kenani refugee camp, Zambia. The widow and mother of three fled the Democratic Republic due to conflict and arrived in Zambia with nothing. She said she joined a male brazier-makers group because she wanted to make a living independently, adding: “I was very proud and happy when I had finished making my first tub.”

In Jordan, Oxfam is supporting female plumbers to teach other women the trade. Mariam, a mother of four from the town of Zarqa became a plumber five years ago and now has several male plumbers working for her. Last year, the 44-year-old former housewife, who was selected by Oxfam to train other women to be plumbers, expanded her growing enterprise by opening a hardware shop.

Iffat is an Oxfam public health promoter at the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, where our emergency response team is providing vital aid to at least 266,000 people. Her job is to tell the refugees about the importance of hygiene which helps to prevent disease. When an elderly man recently thanked her for her help, she said: “That made me feel very happy. That is my reward.”

These are just some of the millions of women and girls who have worked hard to break the cycle of gender inequality and to achieve their full potential. Oxfam is on the ground helping women like Mariam to become leaders in their communities, to have the same rights as men and to free themselves from violence.

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