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Emergencies headlines from around the world

These headlines give the most recent updates from the current work, and areas of concern, of the whole Oxfam confederation. For further information on any of Oxfam's emergency response programmes around the world please contact the Humanitarian HelpDesk in the first instance. Please note, this page represents the latest updates where available and not a list of current activities.

8 August, 2018


The Ebola caseload is growing in North Kivu - there have already been more deaths than there were in Western Equateur province earlier this year. Because this outbreak was discovered late, the response is beginning much later than the presumed first case - therefore it has had time to spread unnoticed and the fatality rate at 84% is worryingly high (the rate in Western Equateur was 49%). Another worrying factor is that this outbreak is occurring in a conflict zone, with areas off-limits to aid workers and communities cut off from facilities. Because the area is a trade hub it means people are passing through, with the potential to spread Ebola widely. 

Oxfam is sending in more staff to boost local capacity - so far 78 handwashing stations in public spaces have been installed, rapid assessments of WaSH needs in health centres have been conducted, Ebola prevention advice to churches, journalists, government officials, and community health volunteers have been circulated, and 29 water chlorination points at water sources have been installed. 


Amidst the undeniable challenges that continue to beset the inhabitants of the huge camps in Cox's Bazar, Oxfam is nevertheless proud of it's achievements on the water and sanitation side. Oxfam has designed systems for bringing in clean water and disposing of sewage on an impressive scale, working closely with the Government's Department of Public Health Engineering to make vast, camp-wide sewage and water networks possible. In addition Oxfam has over 1,300 'tiger worm toilets' providing effective on-site treatment of human waste, along with septic tanks for some communal blocks, and trials of anaerobic digesters.  There are tens of thousands of toilets in the camps which all need regular emptying, but the hilly terrain does make a gravity-operated piped sewage system viable.

Indonesia - Lombok

In the space of two weeks the island was hit by three severe earthquakes. 156,000 people have been made homeless and 300 killed. The disasters have brought down homes, destroyed water networks, and ended people's livelihoods.  People are sheltering in community spaces or under plastic sheeting, and each aftershock has done further damage and made things worse. The response is being led by the Government and coordinated by a Humanitarian Hub that Oxfam helped set up several years ago. Oxfam is supporting an organisation called KONSEPSI with stocks of tarpaulins, clothes, and a mobile water treatment plant. So 5,000 people have been helped, and Oxfam is planning to give more support through cash grants.