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Emergencies headlines: Asia

Here you can find previous headlines from Asia. These headlines give updates from our 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.


16 November, 2018

Bangladesh: Our industrial scale sewage treatment plant is open for business. It has the capacity to take 40 cubic metres of human waste per day (thus catering for 150,000 people), and is the largest ever such system to have been built in a refugee camp. Built to a German design it took seven months to construct, but the initial outlay will be more than paid back by the low operational and maintenance costs. It represents a big step forward in our ability to deal with fecal sludge in situ rather than carrying it away, and we expect to be replicating it in future crises.

10 October, 2018

Bangladesh: How do people communicate when no one has a language in common? There are five languages in use in the Rohingya response area - Rohingya (spoken by all refugees), Chittagonian (spoken by the local population), Bangla and English (spoken by authorities and external aid agencies), and Burmese. Oxfam is working with the organisation Translators Without Borders to overcome some of the considerable difficulties thrown up by this, and minimise the problems that can arise over mistranslations. Together we are compiling a detailed glossary of terms in each of the five languages, with different teams contributing technical words and nuanced phrases in both written and audio versions. It is working well to improve understanding and bring people closer together; we have collaborated on similar work in Nigeria.

12 September, 2018

Bangladesh: Our emergency response to the severe flooding in the North-east of the country will be finished by the end of this month. The response has been entirely delivered through partners, The Procesta Foundation and the Sancred Welfare Foundation; they have been giving cash grants to the worst-hit people to help them afford the basics and restore their livelihoods, while distributing hygiene kits to minimize the risk of waterborne diseases. By the end of September they will also have decontaminated 200 tube wells.

22 August, 2018

India: Well over a million people have been made homeless by the terrible flooding in Kerala state - reported as the worst in a century. Numerous camps have been set up to shelter people while the water levels are at their highest, although as they recede people are likely to try to get back home if at all feasible. The immediate priorities are getting enough safe drinking water and shelter materials in, sorting out toilet facilities, and giving people whatever they need to help prevent outbreaks of disease (soap, hygiene items, purification chemicals etc). Our national team was on the ground immediately to assess needs in two districts (Idukki and Wayanad) with the intention of doing the same in the worst-affected district of Alappuja once the water levels allow access. They've set up a warehouse where essential items are being collected, and began distributions last Saturday. Overall they plan to support about 100,000 people, looking to their longer term recovery needs as soon as this emergency phase is over, but Oxfam India urgently needs to find additional funding to help meet these needs.

08 August, 2018

Bangladesh: 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.

3 August, 2018

Bangladesh:  The monsoon brought a bout of particularly heavy rain over the last couple of weeks. Oxfam had been preparing in advance of this, and engineers were in the camps immediately, inspecting water points for damage and dealing with flooded latrines. Oxfam has also done emergency distribution of vouchers which were pre-prepared (printed, with recipients already selected) for people to buy additional hygiene items.

Laos:  Severe floods have hit 13 provinces across the country, with the province of Attrapeu hit hardest. Estimates suggest 3,000 people have been made homeless out of 16,000 who have been affected (loss of assets etc). The Government is leading the response; the UN has highlighted the need for clean water, sanitation facilities, and support to public health, and Oxfam has committed to supporting the UN effort by supplying items such as hygiene kits and water purifiers which could go in next week.

Myanmar:  Floods have hit South-eastern Myanmar near the Thai border; two of these areas, Kayin and Mon, are areas we work in through partners. Oxfam is currently planning to support about 5,000 people through a partner in Kayin, with hygiene kits, drinking water, and possibly cash.

Indonesia - Lombok:  Oxfam is sending 1,500 tarpaulin sheets from our warehouse in Jakarta as part of the aid effort to support people made homeless by the earthquake. The effort is being coordinated by a national NGO consortium.

4 July, 2018

Bangladesh: Heavy flooding has occurred in the North-east, affecting about one million people. It is an area we work in and where there are local organisations we can support; however, with the focus of aid efforts on the situation in Cox's Bazar there is little attention being given to this one. We are targeting support to 20,000 people with emergency cash grants while we see what additional needs there will be.

20 June, 2018

India: Floods and landslides in the north-east of the country this week caused widespread damage and displacement, with thousands now living in relief camps and makeshift shelters. Oxfam's already responding with our partners, providing clean water, latrines, emergency food distributions and medicines.

Our Chief Executive in India, Amitabh Behar, said: "We will focus on building the resilience of the most vulnerable communities to the recurring floods in these areas. We need to ensure that communities are not displaced, children are not forced to stay out of school, women are not compelled to choose between a sanitary pad and food for their families, and the marginalized are not further pushed into poverty."

Oxfam India's Twitter feed is providing regular updates.

13 June, 2018

Bangladesh: Oxfam has been achieving some significant successes on the water and sanitation fronts in the 'mega-camp' that houses 600,000 people in Cox's Bazar. The focus of this has been on longer-term sustainability on the premise that a greater part of this population is likely to be living there for up to 20 years. Our engineers have designed a system for piping chlorinated water around the entire camp to replace the numerous (and frequently contaminated) shallow wells that are continually being dug across the area; having planned out the whole network we will take on the construction of part of it, with other agencies taking on other parts. They have also meticulously mapped all the sanitation points in preparation for creating a huge sewage system which will transport human waste from toilet blocks into one massive treatment centre. This is going to make fecal sludge management a lot easier and cheaper than trying to maintain hundreds of smaller systems, creating a cleaner and safer environment for the inhabitants.

16 May, 2018

Bangladesh: Oxfam staff have just finished an assessment of the unpaid care work carried out in the communities we're working with in Cox's Bazar. It sought evidence of hours spent by women and men on household tasks and looked at which tasks took the longest time.  Among refugees, women do an average of 72 hours a week to men's 5 hours a week, with water and firewood collection being the hardest and most time-consuming. The groups we talked to made various suggestions for improving things including having household water containers, sources of fuel that did not necessitate deforesting the surrounding areas, and childcare facilities. The team used a Rapid Care Analysis designed by development practitioners in Oxfam, which they felt was very effective at building their understanding of behaviours and identifying the best ways to support people.  All of the Rapid Care Analysis training modules are available to download.

9 May, 2018

Bangladesh: In the last few weeks we've helped install 25 public solar powered lights in Balukhali, supporting efforts to reduce protection risks at night. We worked closely with the people living in the camps to ensure these were in the right places and have provided training to help in their ongoing maintenance, instilling a sense of community ownership. Very soon we'll also begin a distribution of individual solar powered lights for households.

With the monsoon rains coming, and the threat of disease spreading increasing, we've provided acute watery diarrhoea preparedness and response training for 750 volunteers. Community action plans have been developed on the back of the training, helping mitigate the increased risk the rains will bring.

You can hear more from Dorothy Sang - Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Manager - about the upcoming monsoon rains here. Watch Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Manager Dorothy Sang's video talking about the upcoming monsoon rains.

25 April, 2018

Bangladesh: Our monthly feedback-gathering efforts from the residents of camps in Cox's Bazar show over 90% satisfaction for our voucher programme, which allows people to buy fresh local food to supplement the free dry rations. Negative remarks came mainly from people not included in the voucher programme. We have been working hard to increase our coverage and will continue to do so as far as we can. People also asked for more items to be included on the lists of things they can buy, particularly salt and sugar, so our staff are seeing to that. Since last September when this crisis began we have helped 230,000 people, but there are 800,000 refugees currently in Cox's Bazar. The monsoon is starting, and our main concern right now is for camp conditions during heavy rains.

4 April, 2018

Myanmar: Since 2012 Oxfam has been working in numerous camps and villages for nearly 100,000 displaced people in Central Rakhine district. The focus at first was very much on supplying clean water and sanitation facilities; the tactic now is to concentrate more heavily on involving the communities in use and maintenance of the facilities. By recruiting camp-based staff and talking to different groups we have formed an in-depth picture of how different people use services differently, while also finding out much more quickly if problems (breakages, drainage problems etc) are occurring at specific sites. We are gradually trying to hand over ownership of facilities to communities so they become responsible for their upkeep.

Bangladesh: Recent evidence has been gathered in North-west Bangladesh about how longer term support to poor communities can genuinely reduce their vulnerability to disasters. Findings are showing that villages where Oxfam has been helping people to create food banks, diversify income streams, build savings, and keep seed stocks, recovered far faster after floods last year than other villages. The work has taken 7 years so far, but is visibly paying off. This is very positive evidence we will be using to promote such work elsewhere (it is widely agreed that helping people after an emergency costs 4 times more than reducing people's vulnerability to the emergency in the first place).

21 March, 2018

Bangladesh: Oxfam was singled out for praise by the DEC (UK funding consortium) for our specific focus on improving the safety of Rohingya people living the Cox's Bazar camps. Many people feel very unsafe navigating the camp (which is congested and hilly), and women face an additional barrier to movement if they don't have adequate covering. Our staff have been working with other agencies to ensure lanes are lit at night, and distributing lengths of cloth to women to make into whatever clothing they want.

14 March, 2018

Bangladesh: While Oxfam can do valuable work in the huge camps where Rohingya people are living, it makes less sense to work directly in the local communities which are also hosting refugees. Here there are local organisations we can partner with, whose staff come from the neighbourhoods and know them well. One of these - the NGO Forum for Public Health - has its own expertise which we are supporting; they work directly in the communities and we are giving them additional capacity and advice if they need it. The risk to local organisations in severe crises is that they lose staff to incoming international agencies, and that their voices can get lost in the larger aid effort. We are taking deliberate steps to counter this, by committing to compensating local organisations if we hire their staff. This was something international agencies collectively signed up to at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, and something we are keen to put into practice more widely.

07 March, 2018

Bangladesh: Earlier this year Oxfam trialled a fresh food voucher scheme in the Rohingya refugee camps, increasing dietary diversity for the extremely vulnerable. These allowed people to choose from a range of items from local vendors, and meant they weren't just reliant on the rice and lentils provided by the World Food Programme. In February 11,000 households benefited from the vouchers - we're aiming to reach 22,000 (more than 100,000 individuals) in March.

28 February, 2018

Bangladesh: A massive effort continues to make people's lives bearable in the camps of Cox's Bazar. The land is hilly which means cutting into the sloping sides to create enough flat land for shelters, and before the arrival of the refugees there was no existing infrastructure for water, sanitation, lighting, or access. The congestion in the camps - especially the 'mega-camp' of 600,000 people (this is equivalent to the cities of Glasgow or Baltimore) - is a serious fire and disease risk, and the prospect of this year's monsoon is extremely worrying. But our water and sanitation work is - as a visitor put it - something we can be genuinely proud of. In particular the huge effort to install toilet facilities that don't need regular desludging (through use of tiger worm technology), and the complex mix of hand-pumped wells and surface water treatment plants to get water to the maximum number of people with minimal impact on the groundwater table. Our efforts to provide solar lighting have also had a huge effect on people's ability to get out and about safely.

13 December, 2017

Bangladesh: There are now nearly 860,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar, of whom 646,000 have arrived since 25 August. Not only has the pace of new arrivals made this the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world, the concentration of refugees in Cox's Bazar is now amongst the densest in the world Kutapalong mega-camp now holds over 400,000 people; the population of Miami by comparison is 430,000). While the chaos of the early days has subsided, refugees are in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions, and face many threats including gender-based violence, trafficking, forced prostitution, early marriage etc. The lack of lighting, unsegregated latrines, and lack of safe spaces are all concerning. Roughly 1,000 people continue to arrive in Bangladesh every day, and thousands are stuck in the border area known as no-man's land.

Cyclone season passed thankfully without any major incidents, but now water is running low, heightening concerns that the shallow tubewells previously installed in a hurry will run dry. Given they also risk being contaminated by their proximity to latrines, Oxfam engineers have been boring deep tubewells 200-750 feet down, in addition to introducing more sustainable 'styles' of toilet which don't contaminate the groundwater.

22 November, 2017

Bangladesh: You might think things couldn't get much worse for the 800,000 people crammed into a squalid, mud-filled site, but the cyclone season is coming. Fears are growing that wind and rain could destroy parts of the camp, washing away shelters, contaminating facilities, and hugely raising the risk of cholera. The hilly nature of the camps could make them particularly vulnerable to landslides.

Our staff are ramping up support to community efforts to maintain good hygiene standards, and are working hard to improve sanitation. Costs of locally available materials are soaring as demand outstrips supply. A recent assessment to gauge how safe people feel around the camps found that women in particular are not comfortable leaving their shelters without protective clothing - even to use latrines or receive aid. We are sourcing quantities of fabric that they can make into headscarves, burkhas, or shawls to make them feel safer.

India: We've just carried out some very interesting research into how well 'Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)' work reduces how badly people are affected by disasters. DRR in flood-prone areas means helping communities prepare for the likelihood of flooding and take practical measures to reduce its effects. The research involved talking to community groups about what they did to prepare and how this had improved things. People said that several years ago they would 'look at the clouds' to estimate when floods might be coming whereas now they receive early warning messages and alerts.

They have built embankments and raised platforms as evacuation sites, and have created communal stocks of emergency items including food. They have received first aid training, and know how to build small rafts using readily available materials like plastic. They have protected wells and toilets from easy contamination by floodwater. The exciting news is these communities didn't need any emergency support during the floods this year, and that there is a clear link between their preparation efforts (funded partly by Oxfam, partly by other organisations and the authorities) and their reduced vulnerability.

15 November, 2017

Bangladesh: The latest news from our teams in the camps around Cox's Bazar report that in these densely packed environments people are scared of even leaving their shelters to use facilities in case they cannot find their way back. It is also hilly, dark, and muddy - very difficult terrain for moving about in, especially for women who need to be covered to go out in public. All this might have lessened the prevalence of markets, yet markets are appearing as local traders set up shop. Our teams have just completed an assessment of markets and witnessed donated food for sale, which is a tactic used by people trying to afford to vary their diet. As a result we are planning a programme of giving people evouchers, to give them access to available goods such as hygiene items, fresh and dairy produce. We are also continuing a sizeable public health programme of water and sanitation, which is very well regarded by other agencies.

08 November, 2017

Bangladesh: 800,000 Rohingya people have now arrived in Cox's Bazar, 600,000 of whom have arrived since the end of August. They are cramped together on about 3,000 acres of land (roughly the size of Heathrow airport). We've been there since the first people started to arrive, and to date our work (and others') has been predominantly water supplies and toilet facilities. Nevertheless, sanitary conditions are poor and we need to put more effort into waste management; Oxfam is leading the thinking behind creative ways to desludge full latrines in hilly and overcrowded sites. One solution is to introduce tiger worms and we have trialled a few which have been designated the cleanest toilets in the camps. But the quantities of human waste also risk contaminating the water table and the shallower wells (another thing that needs addressing urgently). After many agencies including ourselves distributed food aid, we are now assessing local markets (whereabouts, goods for sale, prices) to see if it would be preferable to give people cash grants.

An Oxfam brief containing testimonies from people who fled will be available soon.

25 October, 2017

Bangladesh: We've now reached more than 185,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh by providing clean drinking water, portable toilets and sanitation facilities, plastic sheets, and other essential supplies. In total we're aiming to help more than 200,000 people during the first phase our response. We're also supporting the government and humanitarian partners to ensure that newly established refugee camps will meet the necessary humanitarian standards.

Many of the stories from refugees are truly shocking. Our Public Health Promotion Officer, Moury Rahman, spoke to Channel 4 news and explained she feels that she's also doubling as a therapist, supporting the women she talks to. You can follow our response by joining the workplace group here.

20 October, 2017

Bangladesh: The 540,000 or so Rohingya people who have fled violence in Myanmar since late August have been packing into Cox's Bazar, joining the 300,000 or so who were already there. Conditions are utterly miserable; there is not enough accommodation for everyone, and the current Kutupalong camp is a totally insufficient size for everyone, especially given half of it is prone to flooding. The army is helping register arrivals and give out some emergency rations while we are now focusing on providing water and toilets for the growing numbers. But Paolo Lubrano, our humanitarian coordinator, is quoted in the media saying "Oxfam like other international agencies are certainly trying our best but it's becoming way beyond our capacity". There is also the difficult question of what will happen to people in the longer term. Do they stay on in Bangladesh or return to Myanmar?

Philippines: The fighting, which started last May in Marawi City between government forces and members of the Maute Group, has finally stopped. However, the work needed to clear landmines and re-establish markets means it could take 1-2 years before the 360,000 displaced people can return home. Oxfam's response has been entirely through local partners, some of whom we helped set up. One partner, IDEAL, specialises in legal work and its staff have been helping to provide temporary IDs for people who fled without documentation. They have given human rights training to the Filipino armed forces and displaced communities, and posted their contact number at checkpoints so if people are being held up they can call to get legal support. Another partner, HRC, has been doing hygiene promotion in an Islamic context, which involves activities such as assuring people that aquatabs are halal, and connecting the importance of good hygiene to the teachings of the Quran.

27 September, 2017

Myanmar-Bangladesh: Nearly 500,000 people have now fled Myanmar for southern Bangladesh since this crisis began. They have joined the 400,000 or so Rohingya people who have been leaving Myanmar since the 1990s (the area around Cox's Bazar currently hosts about 650,000). Our own staff report people arriving in a terrible state, bearing both physical injuries and emotional trauma. We've helped 100,000 people so far, mainly by setting up emergency water systems, building sanitation facilities, and distributions of food through a local partner. A large consignment of tanks, taps, and latrine kits arrived this week from our warehouse in Bicester, UK. Our next plan is to establish a mobile team of engineers and public health experts to travel around to communities clustered outside the camps, as well as to provide safer conditions for women (eg private laundry/bathing areas) to alleviate their fears of violence. We also want to double the number of people we can help. Funding, however, is in desperate need. Join the Facebook group Oxfam in Bangladesh for information, testimonies, and photos.

13 September, 2017

Myanmar/Bangladesh: Last week the estimate that possibly up to 300,000 people might arrive in Bangladesh from Myamnar was put forward as a worst-case scenario. This week the number has already risen to 370,000, and it continues to rise. Oxfam has declared this a Category 2 crisis and begun a response; the first specialist staff have arrived in-country, and latrine kits and other essential items from our stores are being distributed. Our response will focus first on improving public health conditions (water supplies and sanitation). Mobility restrictions on the part of refugees mean they may not be able to make the most of cash grants, in which case we will distribute food supplies at least in the immediate term.

6 September, 2017

Myanmar- Bangladesh: A fresh outbreak of violence in Rakhine state is causing hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to flee their homes. Lack of access to the area means accurate estimates are hard to make, but the numbers arriving in neighbouring Bangladesh over a three-week period alone are overwhelming existing systems. Oxfam works in Central Rakhine and Kachin states but we don't have access to northern Rakhine where this is happening. In Bangladesh however we are launching a Category 2 response to the situation around Cox's Bazar, where official numbers in camps amount to at least 130,000 with a further 140,000 with host communities or camping on highways and makeshift settlements. We will begin immediate water trucking activities, installing portable latrines, and distributing basic items like shelter materials and jerry cans from our contingency stocks, through local organisations.

Sri Lanka: Up to 200,000 people were made homeless by severe flooding in the South-west of the country. The Government is managing the response and is trying to reallocate land and support people with rebuilding costs. In the meantime, many of the poorest people have no option but to stay in camps until relocation is possible. We are in the areas responding; we set up an early supply chain mechanism to procure relief items for the whole aid effort, and are supporting local organisations to deliver clean water, provide sanitation facilities and shelter materials, and distribute cash grants to help people buy food and other essentials.

30 August, 2017

Regional Flooding: About 41 million people have been affected by ongoing flooding and landslides in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Oxfam staff in Bangladesh reported that two-thirds of the country was under water and in some areas the flooding was the worst for 30 years. In Nepal, tens of millions of dollars-worth of crops have been lost and nearly 70,000 livestock animals have perished. So far Oxfam has provided clean drinking water, soap and other hygiene items to help stop the spread of water-borne diseases and cash to buy necessities to 186,000 flood-hit people. We plan to reach many more as the crisis continues; weather forecasts currently predict the rains to continue.

18 August, 2017

South Asia Floods: Torrential rain over the last few days in South Asia has caused severe flooding, affecting North East India, South Nepal and Northern parts of Bangladesh.

In Nepal it's thought around 100,000 people have been affected. We're already responding, with the distribution of hygiene and shelter kits. An emergency team has been deployed for further assessment - the results of which will shape the next stage of our response. In India 1m people have been affected, with Bihar - near the border with Nepal - seeing the most damage. Some locally have described them as the worse floods in the last ten years, and more rain's predicted. While in Bangladesh, Oxfam's partners are carrying out search and rescue operations, and also supporting authorities to manage temporary flood centres.

28 July, 2017

Philippines: The increasing number of displaced people caused by ongoing offensives in Marawi City remains a major challenge. More than 400,000 people have now fled their homes, most of whom are living with relatives. Around 23,000 are staying in evacuation centres, and these tend to be the poorest with no access to resources or family to support them. Facilities in the centres are already stretched.

Oxfam's supporting partners to provide safe and portable water, good hygiene practices, while also promoting the rights of those displaced and pushing for women's equal participation in camp management.

Nashreema is just one young mother helped by our partner Humanitarian Response Consortium. She was provided with a newborn kit for her son, Jomal, and you can read more about her story on our Philippines Workplace group here.

14 July, 2017

Philippines: With 400,000 now displaced following fighting in Marawi City, one of our local partners, United Youth of the Philippines-Women (UnYPhil-Women) has been providing support for those running the evacuation centres outside the city - many of them displaced themselves.

As UnYPhil-Women's Executive Director - Noraido Abo - points out, "Usually, Marawi City hosts evacuees from adjacent municipalities. This time around though, it's the entire… city that has been evacuated…. people are still afraid, especially because this is the first time this ever happened to them." Alongside these counselling sessions, UnYPhil-Women has also provided play therapy sessions for children displaced by the conflict. You can watch a short video and read more about their work here. And for further updates about our response in Marawi City, check out our Facebook page.

India: We've kicked off our response in the Lakhimpur and Karimganj districts of Assam state following recent floods. Hygiene and shelter kits have been distributed, while we've been carrying out public health promotion activities in villages and camps. We've also been developing a public health facilities plan in consultation with local communities and government officials.

Meanwhile in Manipur we've deployed staff to assess the most pressing needs in three of the worst affected areas. Any response won't be straightforward however as landslides have blocked roads. We're reviewing contingencies for transporting stock.

07 July, 2017

Philippines: Ongoing offensives in Marawi City have caused further displacements, with the total number now over 380,000. Many have formed spontaneous settlements, and in these areas it remains a huge challenge to track and monitor their needs. Through our partners we continue to distribute hygiene kits, kitchen essentials and sleeping materials, while hygiene promotion activities are ongoing. We've also helped set up a radio show offering information and advice to displaced people about security concerns, benefits available and legal queries.

15-year-old Osnia was one of those forced to flee her home along with her parents and one-year-old sister, and is currently living in a cramped evacuation centre. You can read more about her story, and others who've fled, on the Oxfam in Philippines website. 

India: Oxfam's responding in the Assam state after monsoon rains caused major flooding, affecting over 350,000 people. Hundreds of villages are under water while crops and infrastructure have been damaged. We've deployed a rapid assessment team to the most affected districts - Karimganj and Lakimpur - where the most pressing needs are access to shelter, hygiene facilities and portable drinking water.

We're still developing our response, aiming to reach 27,500 affected people, but in the meantime we've started with food and tarpaulin distributions.

China: Torrential rain has lashed 8 provinces in central and south China in the last couple of weeks, with floods damaging crops and forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes. Around 19,000 houses have collapsed. Oxfam's already carried out assessments in the most impoverished provinces, and it's in these remote areas where we're planning to respond. We'll have more details soon.

23 June, 2017

Philippines: Following the outbreak of violence last month in Marawi City, around 300,000 people are currently displaced. While most are with relatives - 'home-based' - 40,000 are in evacuation centres. Access to some of these centres, and host communities, remains a challenge given the insecure situation. Protection concerns and overcrowding continue to be issues in these centres too.

Our work in the country has been partner-led, providing hygiene and sleeping kits, water containers, and assistance in constructing communal kitchen facilities. We're also assisting one of our partners in mobilising protection monitors to identify issues, and help enable relevant support for those in need.

12 June, 2017

Bangladesh: Severe rains at the end of March and through April caused major flooding in Haor region in the north east of the country. The damage has meant 90% of local harvests have been lost, along with livestock. Rotting rice is also killing fish, a main food staple in an area where food poverty is already high. 4.5m people have been affected. We're now planning the recovery phase of our response, analysing local market systems and collecting information through focus groups. These findings will help how we move forward and best serve those in need. We're also planning to assist with cash grants for effected households with the support of our local partners.

You can keep up to date with our work via the Oxfam in Bangladesh Facebook page.

Philippines: Following on from recent updates - and the breakout of fighting in Marawi, Mindanao - more than 200,000 people remain displaced. Some are also still trapped in conflict areas with their locations difficult to determine. We're working with local government groups and partners to see how we can reach these. Our main areas of support include water and sanitation facilities, as well as protection concerns with women and girls particularly vulnerable. As many who fled weren't able to carry anything, we've also supported one of our local partners in providing basic items such as kettles and kitchen utensils.

31 May, 2017

Bangladesh/Myanmar: Cyclone Mora hit Bangladesh this week, mostly affecting Cox's Bazar, with significant damage reported in the refugee camps housing Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar. We're sending three assessment teams to gauge the needs of those affected, with an emergency response team on standby. In neighbouring Myanmar, damage was reported at the Say Tha Mar Gyi camp where we've been working. Our immediate priority is repairing almost 250 latrines to reduce health risks in the camp.

Sri Lanka: Devastating Monsoon rains in the south of the country have caused flooding and landslides, affecting over half a million people. 75,000 have sought shelter in 300 evacuation centres provided by the government, unable to return to their homes. Along with our partners we've started rapid assessments, while distributing hygiene and disinfection kits to 2,000 people. Tarpaulin sheets and jerry cans have also been provided. Along with our local partners, we aim to reach 40,000 people with our response.

Philippines: An estimated 200,000 people have been displaced following recent fighting in Marawi, on the island of Mindanao, between militants and government forces. People desperately need access to food, and water and hygiene facilities. After ensuring the security of our and our partners' staff, we've already started distributing essential household items. We're also planning to set up sanitation facilities and start water trucking. At this stage it's unclear how large our response will need to be.

21 April, 2017

Sri Lanka: We have distributed two month's-worth of cash to 700 families badly affected by this year's drought, using a leading mobile communication company which we will also use to research what the targeted households spent their money on. After collaborating with government water authorities to identify some of the worst-hit areas we are planning to install two Skyhydrant water filtration units with the capacity of 15,000 litres per day in two districts. Ultimately we plan to support 30,000 households (about 10% of the total number of affected people), and we are currently making an assessment of how the drought is affecting women and men differently. Looking to the longer term, we are working on weather index insurance, improved water management systems, and piloting some innovative community-based automated early warning systems.

17 March

Sri Lanka: A large part of the country is in the grip of a drought, which is seriously affecting small-scale farmers across all but the south-western regions. Whole crops have been lost (including seeds for next year), and the levels of water in reservoirs are low enough to threaten hydro-electricity production. Oxfam has a long-standing presence in Sri Lanka and good relations with several partners - together we have been monitoring the steady deterioration and are now planning to support up to 30,000 households out of the roughly 300,000 thought to be worst affected, and we have already begun mobile cash transfers through the country's largest mobile network provider. For now the Government is helping to increase water supplies, but we would consider supporting these efforts if the situation deteriorates further.

11 January, 2017

Afghanistan: Internal fighting displaced about 1 million people during 2016, especially in the northern provinces of Kunduz and Takhar, and Kandahar in the South. Additionally, about 600,000 Afghans returned from Pakistan under encouragement from the Pakistan Government - they have settled mainly in Jalalabad in the East to wait out the winter, but many are expected to move on to former homes from about April. Returnees with sufficient documentation are given a return package by the UN but there are many who get nothing. Oxfam is supporting displaced communities (and the communities which have taken in displaced people) in Kunduz with winter equipment and cash, and also working in Jalalabad, prioritising people who are getting no support from any other bodies.

Philippines: Typhoon Nock-Ten hit Luzon island (the largest island in the country) over the Christmas period. There was a lot of damage, not just to houses but also to farms and crops.  We undertook some immediate actions to support people made homeless by providing water and sanitation facilities, but the bulk of our work will be to help people build up their assets once more. 

16 December, 2016

Nepal: We are likely to have supported nearly 400,000 people this year in the aftermath of 2015's earthquake. Communities in very isolated places are still in temporary shelters, with supplies getting in via helicopter or mule. There is a huge amount to be done that Oxfam is working on, involving assessing land for stability and getting it legally reallocated, helping women get equal access to land, physical help rebuilding, repairing long term water networks, and supporting the regrowth of the tourism industry. There is also work to be done on preparedness for future disasters, and we are pushing for a national Disaster Management Bill and working with local authorities to improve disaster management plans and stockpiling.

09 December, 2016

Indonesia: North-Western Aceh in Sumatra was hit by a 6.4 Richter scale earthquake on 7th Dec. Oxfam works with several partner organisations in Aceh, two of whom took part in the first assessments of need. Oxfam Australia has made early funding available, and our partners have access to emergency stocks of items such as blankets, hygiene kits, and tarpaulins in a warehouse in Medan. Oxfam Australia is also on hand to give more direct support if the emergency is beyond the response capacity of these organisations.

Nepal: A couple of our public health experts returned to Nepal to look at how communities are recovering from the earthquake that happened about 18 months ago. Our teams on the ground are doing some very interesting work with communities to diversify access to water, using ideas such as micro-hydro plants, rainwater harvesting models, and water ATMs (the idea for this is coming from successful trials in Kenya and Bangladesh). While many communities are recovering, nearly 20,000 people are facing a second winter in temporary shelters.

11 November, 2016

Afghanistan: We're continuing to plan the structure of a larger response in Afghanistan. Security is tight and the Taliban have taken control of large parts of the country. Meanwhile, as we reported a few weeks ago, huge numbers of people who had previously left Afghanistan for Pakistan, or who have been deported from Europe, are coming back into the country. Many of them are returning without documentation and these people in particular face a difficult struggle. We are operating in Afghanistan already, and next week we'll distribute seeds and cash to 10,000 people.

Myanmar: Oxfam has been doing water, sanitation and hygiene work in camps in Sittwe, western Myanmar, for five years and we're developing new plans to improve conditions for those living there. One such plan is to install some tiger worm toilets in the camps. The benefits to the people using them would be many: they reduce smells, keep bugs away and because the worms eat almost all of the excrement that comes their way, the expensive and potentially messy task of emptying the toilets would be much reduced. We've already proven that the tiger worm toilet can work in households, and now we hope to take them into camps. It's an innovation that could really improve people's quality of life.

28 October, 2016

The Philippines: 'Super-typhoon' Haima hit North-eastern Philippines nearly two weeks ago. The Government evacuated about 100,000 people and there were very few deaths.  Damage however, has been considerable - many people are now leaving evacuation centres and returning home to considerable longer term problems and the need to rebuild infrastructure and agriculture.  We are seeing our contribution very much as support to recovery efforts which could be cash grants or help with seed distributions etc.  In the immediate term we will be lobbying the Government to make sure emergency help is given to the communities that need it most. This is not the first typhoon of the season and it is unlikely to be the last, and poorer communities will need support to stop them getting into unacceptable levels of debt.

Myanmar: Tensions have been brewing in Rakhine district, leading to about 20,000 people being newly displaced. It's in an area where access is difficult, but we have sent hygiene kits to be distributed by a local organisation we work with. We did suspend our programme for a few days because of insecurity, but are back at work now doing water and public health activities in the camps.

07 October, 2016

North Korea: Oxfam staff from Hong Kong are visiting the country this week to discuss the needs arising from the recent flooding. Our contribution is to provide metal roofing plates for shelters, and food supplies comprising wheat flour and soya bean oil. Relief materials will be delivered in the next few days.

16 September, 2016

DPR Korea:  A devastating flood triggered by Typhoon Lionrock in the northeast of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea earlier this month has caused widespread damage and casualties. Some areas are completely inaccessible because roads and bridges have collapsed. Over 140,000 people are in urgent need of food and materials to build shelters. Oxfam Hong Kong is working closely with local organizations in DPR Korea to deliver what are most urgently needed, like food-including flour and cooking oil - and the materials for building shelters, for 3,000 people. Winter will be the biggest threat if people are not helped quickly; temperatures in the mountainous areas can drop to -25 degrees Celsius, so families urgently need to rebuild their houses now.

02 September, 2016

India:  The past month's monsoon has left millions of people affected in the north of India, and storms returned to Bihar state in the past two weeks, where 145 people have now died in the floods. We're continuing our response, prioritising access to water, hygiene essentials and shelter kits, and giving out unconditional cash to 1000 of the most vulnerable people in Bihar state.

05 August, 2016

Bangladesh:  Nearly 2 million people have been affected by flooding across the country, and waters have started to recede in some of the northern districts, the south is now bearing the brunt of the storms. After last weekend's assessment, Oxfam has started responding in Gaibandha District, providing safe drinking water and toilet facilities to flood-affected communities. This includes water trucking support to 1,000 households every day. The team is further conducting an assessment in Kurigaram district.

India:  Heavy flooding across the Assam state has affected 22 districts displacing approximately 1.8 million people, of more than 200,000 are currently sheltered in government-run camps. Oxfam in India has began sending staff to some of the most severely affected districts of Assam and our partners are conducting assessments of the worst affected areas. We're also considering expanding our operations to Bihar state.

Nepal:  We have distributed emergency supplies in Saptari District and we're now designing the next stage of our response.

29 July, 2016

Bangladesh: Flooding in Bangladesh has worsened, especially in the north, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. Two teams from Oxfam will move to assess the most severely affected district of Kurigram and Gaibandha on Sunday.

China: We have completed the delivery of water pipes, food, hygiene kits, quilts, tarpaulin and cooking utensils in two of the five provinces where we've been working since heavy rains caused flooding and landslides in parts of southern China. 

India: Assam State in north east India has been hit by devastating floods after torrential rains. Entire villages have been inundated and farmlands submerged. In many cases, people have had no choice but to abandon their homes and move to relief camps or set up makeshift shelters wherever they can. Some are stationed on embankments or on the sides of the road. The situation remains grim and is likely to worsen.

An Oxfam team is now on the ground providing assistance to vulnerable communities. The priority is to make available tarpaulins, blankets and solar lamps, while installing toilets and hand pumps for drinkable water will also be essential to prevent the outbreak of disease.

Myanmar: In Kachin state, where we have been working in six camps for people displaced by ongoing conflict, we are assessing the feasibility of a cash transfer programme. This would give people more choice over what goes in their food basket on top of the main staple of rice, which we will continue to distribute. This type of programming could also do more to support local vendors in the camps. 

Nepal: Nepal has also been hit by flash flooding. We are sending contingency stocks to affected areas and will expand our response further depending on the results of an assessment of the affected areas this weekend.

01 July, 2016

China: Since early June, the torrential rain lashed 13 provinces in the Southern China. Over 500,000 people have been affected so far by floods which have destroyed homes and caused billions of dollars-worth of economic losses. Oxfam is working in the relatively impoverished areas of Guizhou and Guangxi provinces delivering emergency supplies such as quilts, rice/cooking oil, hygiene kits, and small cash grants to some of the worst-affected people. Around 13,000 people are benefiting.

17 June, 2016

China: Torrential rains have brought extensive flooding to a number of southern provinces this year, with the Yangtze and other rivers swollen to levels not seen since 1998. The Government has largely got the situation under control, but Oxfam Hong Kong is working through local partners in Guizhou province giving some of the poorer homeless people rice and warm bedding, and short-term cash grants to help them buy other basics.

Philippines: Remember typhoon Haiyan in 2013? Three years later some people are still homeless, and Oxfam has been working with some of the poorest communities supporting small businesses and the establishment of co-operative groups. This is preventing people from turning to dangerous tactics in order to survive like prostitution or crime, which some people in other districts are resorting to. On the island of Mindanao we are running a different programme in a situation of longstanding armed conflict, exacerbated by an El Nino drought because groups are now fighting over increasingly scarce resources. Oxfam is training people to be Protection Monitors, who are doing 'groundbreaking work' warning people of impending fighting, getting them to evacuation centres, getting victims of violence the healthcare they may need, and negotiating with armed groups about not involving civilians in their activities.

June 10, 2016

Bangladesh: Oxfam, through three local partners, has helped 7,000 people in Chittagong and Barguna - two areas especially badly affected by cyclone Roanu which hit coastal regions in May. The storm caused considerable damage to homes, embankments, roads, and crops, and thousands of people are still camped in the open because their houses remain flooded. The Government is coordinating the response, of which we and our partners are part. Photos of our response with one of our partners Jago Nari are available on their Facebook page.

June 03, 2016

Bangladesh: Oxfam and our partner Jogo Nari have been busy distributing essential water carrying and storage items to people made homeless in several coastal districts of southern Bangladesh since cyclone Roanu hit the country on 21st May. We are additionally providing the funds for hygiene kits, temporary latrines, shelter materials, and cash grants to some of the families who have lost everything. Do follow Oxfam in Bangladesh's Facebook page for photos and updates from the affected districts.

25 May, 2016

Afghanistan: Fighting in Kunduz (northern province bordering Tajikistan) has been worse this year, and more people have fled to neighbouring provinces since the start of 2016 than in the last three years. Oxfam is planning to scale up our support to displaced people in Badakhshan, Takhar, and Balkh provinces through a network of existing partners there.  Assessments are beginning soon.

Bangladesh: Bangladesh took the full force of cyclone Roanu last week, which hit 11 coastal districts and made half a million people homeless. Oxfam and our partners made immediate use of contingency stocks (essential hygiene and shelter items) and temporary latrines to distribute to 7,000 people, and we are now activating emergency funds for a month's worth of cash grants to families who have lost everything.

Sri Lanka: Floods and landslides have made nearly quarter of a million people homeless across a central belt of the country. Most are sheltering in small locations like school buildings or temples which cannot accommodate people for more than 1-2 weeks, but a few villages were totally inundated with mud and it will be several months at best before those people can go home. Oxfam was on the scene fast distributing supplies of essential hygiene items to help people, and we are working on a longer response to those communities which have nowhere to go.

20 May, 2016

Bangladesh: Cyclone Roanu is moving north-eastwards across the Bay of Bengal towards Bangladesh. Oxfam staff will be on standby over the coming weekend and is in close touch with both central and district government authorities, and with our partners in the area likely to be hit. We have contingency stocks available for a swift response if needed.

Sri Lanka:  Torrential rain over the last week has caused bad flooding and major landslides across a central belt from Colombo to Kandy. At least 350,000 people have been affected so far, 200,000 of whom are sheltering in temporary accommodation such as school buildings. Oxfam teams were on the ground immediately distributing essential basics from contingency stocks which included portable toilets. We're now doing a rapid assessment with a view to supporting wider needs, and are also coordinating the responses of other organisations. The weather isn't improving imminently so conditions are likely to get worse.

Vietnam: At the end of April the Government appealed for help with the severe drought affecting southern and central regions. Dropping groundwater levels in the Mekong Delta have resulted in the most extensive saltwater intrusion in over 90 years, destroying crops and preventing the planting of new ones. Oxfam staff found that people were trying to use less water for drinking, cooking, and bathing, were selling livestock at reduced prices, or leaving to look for work. As an emergency measure we helped 6,400 people in Ben Tre (the worst affected district) with extra water storage capacity and the wherewithal to get these filled regularly, as well as giving cash grants for animal fodder. We hope to continue with this through June.

4 May, 2016

Pakistan: A severe heat-wave in Karachi killed 1,500 people last year.  This year's conditions look to being similar and we are preparing activities in advance; amassing contingency stocks of water equipment, and planning a public health campaign.

India:  330 million people are suffering from drought, with the state of Uttar Pradesh one of the worst affected. Oxfam is assessing the extent of its effects, keeping in mind the considerable government resources also available to support people.