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Emergencies headlines: Western Africa

Here you can find previous headlines from West Africa. 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.

22 August, 2018

Sahel: Oxfam is working in 6 countries to combat the effects of this year's drought across the Sahel: Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Niger. Work includes distributing cash and food vouchers, giving enriched flour to families with young children and pregnant and lactating mothers, giving fodder for animals, and monitoring malnutrition rates. The rains are expected, and we will help farmers and pastoralists replant or restock herds, diversify crops, and support fodder banks to reduce future vulnerability.

20 June, 2018

Sahel, West Africa: Oxfam's declared the Sahel regional food crisis a category 2 emergency, with 7 million people across Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal facing 'crisis' and 'emergency' levels of food insecurity. This figure is also expected to rise to 10 million over the coming months with the approach of the lean season. Conflict in the region has only made matters worse, hindering humanitarian access and delivery.

Oxfam's already started conducting assessments, with a range of activities planned including the distribution of food, food vouchers and cash. We'll have more details over the coming weeks.

13 June, 2018

Sahel, West Africa: The UN estimates that five million people will need help getting enough to eat this year, in Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Chad. Reports that families are starting to cut down on daily food intake and stopping children going to school are telltale signs of looming food shortages as drought conditions worsen. Oxfam works in all these countries, and teams in Senegal, Mauritania, Mali and Niger are starting to assess where needs are greatest and to prepare food, fodder, and cash grants for distribution. More on this as plans develop.

23 May, 2016

Nigeria: We have just carried out a review of the work we've been doing to provide lighting to people living in camps in northern Nigeria. In the isolated, unfenced setllements in Damboa area lighting is not allowed for fear it would make the place a target for rebel attack. This makes it almost impossible for people to go out at night. The area is not policed, and there are scorpions, snakes, and rodents about. Oxfam gave individual solar lamps to one thousand households in March, and the feedback has been very positive. Not only do women and girls feel safer carrying the light to the showers/toilets after dark, they say having a light in the shelter has also allowed for more family time. The Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) at Loughborough University is helping Oxfam with research into how closely lighting is linked to improvements in public health, and reductions in gender-based violence, and we are also working with them in Iraq and Uganda.

25 April, 2018

West Africa Sahel Region: The region is heading into a season of hardship because poor rainfall is pushing up food prices and reducing the availability of fodder for livestock. People based in the drier North of several countries are migrating southwards, putting extra pressure on resources there. Forecasts suggest that between June and August nearly 12 million people will be in need of help in eight countries, with Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Mali the worst affected. Oxfam along with other agencies has been doing a lot of work on improving early warning systems which means the signs of this have been evident for a few months now; the bigger problem has been raising the alarm successfully to provoke early action.

28 February, 2018

Sierra Leone: Our project to introduce tiger worm toilets in a rural area of Sierra Leone is really taking shape. The wormeries are starting to produce enough worms for a demonstration toilet, and local organisations have been trained in propagating the worms and building suitable structures for them to thrive. The project area is starting to receive visitors from local authorities, colleges, and local organisations interested in learning more about tiger worm toilets to see if they could replicate the work. All very encouraging.

22 November, 2017

Lake Chad Basin (Recap of our response): In Nigeria 8.5 million people need aid (OCHA, September 2017). Oxfam works in Adamawa and Borno states, providing people with food, clean water and better sanitation, including constructing showers and repairing toilets, and creating handwashing facilities. We are responding to the cholera outbreak in several locations in Borno, responding rapidly to confirmed cases to prevent further spreading, promoting hygiene, surveillance, and referral of suspected cases. We have set up community protection groups for men and women to facilitate their access to available services, and encouraging them to lobby authorities for a safer environment. We are distributing food and cooking equipment, as well as providing seeds and tools to help traders and farmers. In Borno we recently started an education programme. We have reached almost 400,000 people in Nigeria in the last year.

In the Diffa region in Niger over 400,000 people need emergency aid because of the conflict. Diffa borders Borno State in Nigeria and people affected include Nigerian refugees, people who are fleeing their villages, and the communities that shelter them. People have seen their homes ruined, their lives completely disrupted. Children aren't going to school, and food is scarce. Oxfam is installing water systems and distributing essential items such as food, cooking pots, buckets and water purifying tablets. We are also responding to a severe Hepatitis E outbreak. Since the beginning of the crisis, we have reached more than 70,000 people, and we aim to reach 100,000 by the end of 2017.

In Chad, nearly 345,000 people need aid, both refugees and people forced to flee within Chad itself. Oxfam is distributing cash and tarpaulins for shelter and providing clean water to people to help prevent the spread of diseases. Our advocacy works is focused on creating long-term solutions beyond this current response, and on access to birth certificates for displaced people. We have reached more than 50,000 people.

25 October, 2017

Nigeria: Our teams continue to work in often extremely challenging circumstances. Roads to some of the locations we're responding in are so insecure we're having to use helicopters to access them - response teams are dropped off in the morning before being collected later that same day. In Damboa, in the north east, we've recently started trialling 'education in emergencies' - informal learning for children.

20 October, 2017

Nigeria: Oxfam staff are doing a specific piece of research into the safety of toilets in emergency settings. The camps they visited in northern Nigeria are predominantly full of women and children, because on fleeing Boko Haram areas so many of the men are then executed as having been possible members of that group. Camps are very dark at night, and the fear among women of sexual violence is high. Because of this, up to 50% of women asked said they were too scared to use the loos at night, preferring to use open ground nearer where they sleep. We are finding that in these conditions, giving communities personal torches or lamps has had an immediate effect - women are less scared of moving around at night, and potential perpetrators are more worried about being recognised. The research is being done in other countries too, and is already being used to change the way we site and equip toilet facilities.

6 September, 2017

Nigeria: Oxfam recently welcomed a new addition to the confederation; Oxfam Denmark, known as IBIS. IBIS brings an education specialism to what we already do in emergencies, and their staff are beginning a pilot programme to provide schooling to 300 young people (10-20 years old) in Damboa in northern Nigeria. The curriculum will include numeracy, literacy, and life skills, and our efforts have been endorsed by the Ministry of Education. If successful we could extend this work to other areas.

MIDDLE EAST / NORTH AFRICA

Iraq: The battle to oust IS forces from Tel Afar is a smaller one than the battle for Mosul, but it means tens of thousands more people are moving out of the town to seek safety. Oxfam was already working at various sites where people are coming to and we have been busy setting up water tanks, latrine blocks, making water potable, and distributing basic items. The big military offensives are now largely over and the peaks of displacement are probably passed. Now is the time to support people as they are moved from transit sites to interim camps with decent facilities where they can stay until they can go home. People are already starting to return to East Mosul.

18 August, 2017

Sierra Leone: Days of torrential rain triggered mudslides on Monday in the Regent area of the capital, Freetown. Massive flooding's also been caused, with between 3,000 and 5,000 people affected. Oxfam's leading on one of the government's key priorities - providing water and sanitation facilities - with concerns around the potential spread of waterborne diseases.

"These are some of the poorest areas in Freetown. Water and sanitation in homes is at best very basic, but at worst non-existent. Overcrowding is a serious health risk and a potential breeding ground for the spread of disease." - that was Daniel Byrne, part of the Oxfam team in the city.

04 August, 2017

Lake Chad Region: The ongoing Hepatitis E outbreak is covered in the latest issue of The Lancet. Our Public Health Promoter Team Leader, Michelle Farrington, is quoted in the article which discusses the challenges faced by humanitarians. There's still little known about how it's transmitted, and with the rainy season approaching - and the possibility of further displacement caused by violence - there's a threat it could spread further.

While the article is free, you will need to register to read it in full. See 'The omitted epidemic-hepatitis E in the Lake Chad region'.

In Nigeria we've been responding to the outbreak in two areas - Damasak and Ngala - recruiting health volunteers, distributing aqua-tabs and testing communal water sources. We've also been running sessions at clinics for pregnant women as these are particularly vulnerable.

14 July, 2017

Nigeria: The influx of returnees from Cameroon to Nigeria continues, and with capacity already overstretched, we're becoming increasingly concerned about conditions awaiting new arrivals. Especially so in Pulka where the lack of water is creating tensions between host communities and those displaced. We're continuing to scale up our water, sanitation and hygiene work in the town.

We also have a team working quickly on cholera and Hepatitis E response activities in Rann before it becomes impossible to access due to the coming rains.

30 June, 2017

Lake Chad Basin Response: As you may know from previous updates, Oxfam's responding to a Hepatitis E outbreak in the Diffa region in Niger, and since January, returnees have started making the journey from there back into Nigeria. Many are living in an informal camp in the border town of Damasak until they can return home, and Hepatitis E is now spreading here too. We're starting a water, sanitation and protection intervention there in the critical time window before the start of the rainy season in Nigeria.

Central African Republic: The security situation in Bria remains very tense - where last week we saw another flare up of fighting. The vast majority of the civilian population is still displaced, and with no sign of the situation stabilising, we're planning a six-month response for the 40,000 affected people.

We're coordinating with Médecins Sans Frontières to cover the urgent water trucking requirements, but we're concerned there's not enough food to cover the needs of all those displaced. Bria remains an unseen and under-funded crisis.

You can hear Oxfam's Country Director in CAR, Francis Ntessani, talk about the current crisis and the main needs on Radio France Internationale.

23 June, 2017

Chad: In addition to the ongoing food crisis affecting the country, Chad's now facing a Hepatitis E emergency in Salamat region, in the south-east. Information gathering in the area is difficult, so it's also possible cases are being under-reported. And with the rainy season fast approaching, and potential floods this could bring, there's a risk the disease may spread. Oxfam is currently considering an emergency public health response.

16 June, 2017

Nigeria: In the north east of the country, returnees continue to cross the border from Cameroon - seemingly under the impression that farm land is safe to work again. The inadequate security situation in rural areas means this isn't the case, and people instead have been forced to seek shelter in camps and informal settlements in towns. For the vast majority of people, the main agricultural season has now been missed.

We're planning on extending our response into 2018, and anticipate that for this period many in Borno state will require ongoing, life-saving support. As areas become newly accessible, we also have a rapid response team on the ground ready to support water and sanitation needs. We've already reached 500,000 people with our response, and aim to increase this to 850,000 in the next year.

Central African Republic: We continue to work in several sites around the town of Bria after 40,000 were forced to flee from fighting. So far our response has included the distribution of 1,500 hygiene kits, water trucking, and food distributions to almost 6,000 affected households. We're also running several awareness campaigns to promote good hygiene practices.

12 June, 2017

Central African Republic: Recent fresh violence has increased the total number of displaced people to over half a million across the country. There's also a risk of further destabilisation as violence flares up in new areas. As mentioned in last week's update, we continue to work around Bria (in the Haute Kotto prefecture) after 40,000 fled the town in the last few weeks. We've been focussing our advocacy work on increasing access to affected civilians. With many different armed groups operating in the country (and often moving around) negotiating access has been difficult.

31 May, 2017

Nigeria: Returnees from Cameroon continue to cross the border back into Nigeria. Facilities are already overstretched, and water is scarce with many surviving on 3 - 5 litres per day in scorching conditions. We've been working in several locations, and with some extremely difficult to reach, we've had to deploy rapid response teams by helicopter to provide assistance. We've also been engaging with local communities, providing cash in exchange for support on water and sanitation projects - such as digging ponds to conserve rain water. With the rains coming, reaching certain locations will only become more difficult.

Central African Republic: Since the beginning of May, tensions between groups have turned into violent clashes, causing large-scale displacements. In the last two weeks 40, 000 people have fled Bria - in the Haute Kotto prefecture - and arrived at six main sites surrounding the town. We have a response team in place to assist everyone in these sites, constructing latrines and arranging water trucking. We're also planning food distributions - immediate 10-day rations - on behalf of the World Food Programme. With the situation extremely volatile, we're monitoring protection concerns closely.

05 May, 2017

Chad: We have been supporting over 50,000 people spread out over about 45 sites where they settled after fleeing Boko Haram fighters. Most of these people don't want to return to their old homes but would prefer to stay where they are now. We will be helping them to do this by supporting economic activity, and helping people get legal documentation (e.g. birth certificates for babies born since the start of the crisis etc).

31 March, 2017

Nigeria: We have increased our coverage to four newly accessible areas in northern Nigeria in the last month, making a total of seven locations now. Our range of activities involves providing water (some drilling activities are failing to find water which is making life extremely difficult), giving cash in exchange for labour, distributing hygiene kits, and providing food - maize, beans, millet, and salt. Many people who had sought shelter in Cameroon have been made to return to Nigeria which is putting additional strain on available facilities and resources. So far we have helped about 330,000 people - 82,000 in the last month alone.

24 February, 2017

Chad: Of the limited media attention given to the food crisis in the Lake Chad Basin, most has been on Nigeria, but Oxfam has also been responding in Chad itself. Because of fears that Boko Haram militants would make their way into the country by crossing the islands that dot Lake Chad, all human presence was outlawed on them. This had the knock on effect of taking away the livelihoods of many who relied on the islands as fishing bases, sparking another food crisis. Since then Oxfam has been providing cash to those who can access functioning markets, as well as support in growing food and access to drinkable water by drilling boreholes. In total we've supported 40,000 people across the north of the country.

17 February, 2017

Nigeria: As the offensive against Boko Haram continues, we're moving quickly to provide the support to people in newly accessible areas. Last weekend a team bundled in the back of a helicopter with latrine-building materials - slabs, wood and tarpaulin as well as the spades, hammer and nails needed for put them together - and immediately started training the local community on how to install them. Further south in Pulka, where 5,000 people are currently sheltered in an abandoned hospital, now run by Medicins Sans Frontiers, we're handing out hygiene kits and other essential items like wrappers (which is the material that women 'wrap' around themselves or make dresses from), headscarves, toothpaste and toothbrushes, nail cutters, women's underpants, and baby blankets. These people will soon be moving out of the hospital and into a new camp where Oxfam engineers are currently setting up the necessary water, hygiene and sanitation facilities. A team has also carried out assessments in another two camps in Gwoza, another town retaken from Boko Haram, and is now finalising designs for sanitation and water piping.

The Gambia: After the political unrest which followed the initial refusal of the incumbent president to stand down, many of the 75,000 people who fled across the border to Senegal are now returning home. Oxfam has been responding through a Senegalese partner, providing cash to help nearly 3,000 buy food, help find their ways home, or meet other urgent needs.

10 February, 2017

Nigeria: Nigerian military offensives against Boko Haram continue along the Cameroon border and this is driving people into towns previously retaken. Many people are arriving in these areas each day, almost all of them women and children. The only men who seem to arrive are elderly and in a visibly terrible state. The struggle isn't over for them on arrival either, with many meeting pretty dire circumstances: towns have ballooned in size, with displaced people making up 90% of the population in some, and existing water and sanitation facilities simply aren't designed to cope with such demand. Oxfam is ramping up activities in the area though. Last weekend a team flew out to Rann - the town that was bombed by the Nigerian military last month - to carry out assessments and packed as many supplies as possible for immediate distribution. In the short time they were on the ground, they also started training people on latrine construction.

As reported a couple of weeks ago, Oxfam has also begun responding in Pulka, another town receiving streams of displaced Nigerians. Again, the town is understandably underprepared for such an influx. While the town bakes in the mid 30s, supplying drinking water is the overwhelming priority. Pulka sits on a bed of solid granite, which make drilling boreholes particularly difficult, but our engineers have managed to get one water source flowing so far.

20 January, 2017

Nigeria: The week has been dominated by shocking news of the bombing of a camp for displaced people by Nigerian airforces, which killed 52 people. Oxfam is not currently working in that camp, but we are among a group of NGOs calling for all results of a pending investigation into this awful incident to be made public. Meanwhile Oxfam engineers are carrying out an assessment in Pulka,Borno with a view to beginning work to improve access to water and sanitation, as we continue to expand our reach.

09 December, 2016

Nigeria: Oxfam has been hosting a visit by the actor Djimon Hounsou, taking him to look at our programmes. The trip has been an outstanding success - Djimon being 'a joy to travel with, very committed'. He has been communicating via social media ( Facebook, Instagram and twitter ) and  has agreed a number of interviews in the region.

Niger: The presence of Boko Haram in the Diffa region of southern Niger has forced big reductions in market activity in the area. In particular, fishing and red pepper production (the cash crops formerly prevalent in the region) have suffered significantly, and there are official restrictions on the sale of fertiliser. The effect on the local population has been catastrophic with an over 90% drop in average income. This compels people to go without or resort to dangerous things to survive. Oxfam staff have completed an analysis of the fishing and red pepper markets looking at their past and present states, and are planning to work with the authorities on measures to alleviate market conditions in the region

02 December, 2016

Nigeria: We were reminded by returning staff that, in terms of numbers, Nigeria is facing the largest humanitarian crisis in Africa right now. Our teams are making huge efforts to bring in food and basic hygiene products, and improve water supplies, in places made accessible after Boko Haram have been pushed back, where we are finding people in desperate conditions. The particular violence meted out to men and boys is going to be the subject of a forthcoming Oxfam research piece. This crisis has been a difficult one to bring to wider attention but is finally getting good coverage in parts of the UK media.

11 November, 2016

Lake Chad Basin: There are millions of people in need of food assistance in north-east Nigeria and mortality rates are extremely high. We're building up our programme across Borno State, including in Damboa, where we're one of the few actors going in. We'll be doing food distributions to start with, with plans to expand our programming to provide water and work with communities on hygiene promotion. In this fragile area, we'll also have a strong focus on protecting vulnerable populations. Also in Borno state, we're now acting in the zones in and around Maiduguri. It's a seriously fragile area and there have been suicide attacks every week recently. We're also ramping up activities in Adamawa State, with borehole rehabilitation, food assistance and distribution of seeds. In Niger, an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever, a viral disease which can spread from livestock, has led to the deaths of 29 people. Together with a partner, Oxfam is putting in place a strategy to promote good health practices and stop the spread of the virus. The dry season has begun in the Lake Chad Basin and with this it is expected that attacks from Boko Haram may increase.

5 November, 2016

Lake Chad Basin: We're expanding our operation in Nigeria and a team has travelled out to the north-east of the country to set up a new office in Biu. We plan to work with internally displaced people, both in official camps and with others who are in more informal settlements, bringing them drinking water, food assistance and working for their protection in this dangerous area. Further north in Yobe state, we're starting a first round of cash distributions. With Boko Haram being slowly being forced out of parts of north-east Nigeria, some people are starting to move back towards their homes. There are still villages in the area that are still inaccessible though, so we're calling for more information to be provided to returners, as well as better coordination and more investment in the areas people are coming back to.

28 October, 2016

Lake Chad Basin: Staff have been moving from Abuja to be nearer programme sites. Insecurity persists and attacks seem to be increasing as the rainy season ends.  Our teams are distributing food and cash to displaced communities in Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, and we are working with local drilling companies to drill boreholes and create systems bringing water into camps. We have used solar energy to power some of the pumps, and where there is insufficient water we are trucking it in.  We've reached more than quarter of a million people so far, but there is a huge amount to do, and many people are in areas inaccessible to us.

07 October, 2016

Lake Chad Basin: Last week Oxfam organised a briefing in Geneva on the humanitarian situation in the Lake Chad Basin. It was a successful event, hosted by the UN, with over 60 participants from a wide range of Member States and UN agencies. The opening speech made the case for why this crisis should be a priority, linking it to future regional security and highlighting the underlying causes of poverty and climate change. We organised a photo exhibition of images from the crisis, which was viewed as people waited to enter the meeting room. Member states were keen to know how they could do more, and practical steps around funding, logistics and security were discussed. It was clear that awareness about Lake Chad is growing, yet there are still concerns about how to prioritise with so many other crises and lack of public/ media awareness.

30 September, 2016

Lake Chad Basin: Operations are ramping up as we try to meet the needs of people affected by the Boko Haram crisis. We recently distributed food and other essentials like soap, mosquito nets and tarpaulins to households in camps for displaced people in Niger. Our logistics teams have also been working hard to get more goods (including water tanks, jerry cans and mosquito nets) into Nigeria, and transport them to the places where they're most needed.

23 September, 2016

Lake Chad Basin: The crisis around Lake Chad (taking in Chad, Niger, and Nigeria) has been made a priority by Oxfam. Hundreds of thousands of people are on the brink of famine and 65,000 are already in famine in pockets across north-eastern Nigeria. This is one of the most under-reported crises in the world, and we need to do a huge push to raise its profile (and the funding it needs). This part of the world is very hard to work in, where communities are isolated not only by extreme insecurity but also by geography. We are getting food supplies and short-term cash grants to people across the region (in Niger, Chad, and northern Nigeria), improving water points and promoting good hygiene. And we are joining forces with other agencies trying to bring the crisis to public attention at the UN General Assembly this week as the world's fastest-growing displacement crisis.

09 September, 2016

Chad Basin: The news about pockets of famine being evident in parts of north-eastern Nigeria has been very sobering. The crisis is undeniably huge, especially given that millions of people in urgent need are living in areas inaccessible to aid organizations. The confirmation by the WHO of a few cases of polio has caused all the neighbouring countries to declare a public health emergency. Our team in the region is now at capacity, busy conducting assessments in areas newly opened up, and scaling up fast in Chad where we just completed our first distribution of cash to nearly 30,000 people. The teams are also working hard to prepare for the upcoming UN General Assembly, gathering materials for publications to draw attention to the voices of people who are being affected by the crisis. For a vivid first-person account of how survivors of violent conflict are trying their best to recover, read this blog by our Communications Officer in Nigeria: Shining a light on West Africa's unknown crisis.

02 September, 2016

Lake Chad Basin:  The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in the region, but Oxfam's team on the ground is almost complete and we are contacting donors as we look to ramp up action.

Central African Republic:  We recently received funds to respond to an outbreak of cholera, and have begun operations by installing hand washing stations and latrines in areas around the capital Bangui.

26 August, 2016

Chad Basin - Nigeria: About 65,000 people in pockets across the North-east of Nigeria have now been officially categorized as suffering from famine - the most extreme form of hunger. We are planning to increase our response in the areas affected, providing general food rations and micro-nutrient supplements, and cash where appropriate. We have also published 'Lake Chad's Unseen Crisis', a report seeking to bring the voices of some of the people who have fled violence to the wider world.  This large area around Lake Chad crossing into four countries is now the scene of Africa's fastest growing displacement crisis. Read the report Lake Chad's Unseen Crisis. And there is also an exposure blog.

19 August, 2016

Lake Chad Basin (Boko Haram response) - Focus on Niger: The current security context in Diffa region is critical given the incursion of Boko Haram into Niger and the continuous violent attacks in villages around Lake Chad since February 2015. Already a struggling state (Niger ranks 188 out of 188 in the Human Development Index Ranking), the attacks and subsequent displacements are taking a heavy toll on the country.

Large numbers of women, men, girls and boys have been forced to flee their homes, often moving from one place to another in a matter of months, as they fear for their safety. After more Boko Haram attacks in Bosso on 3 June, the number of IDPs, returnees and refugees has increased to an official 280,000 people, although many humanitarian actors think this is higher.

Currently the largest number of displaced are living in around 45 informal settlements, though this number changes constantly. All of these displaced women, men, girls and boys live in extreme vulnerability.

Oxfam is continuing to scale up the response and will deploy more staff, including a food security expert, to Niger over the coming weeks. In the past two months, we have been providing food assistance for 775 households and build up of our contingency stock is ongoing. We are also putting together proposals to start work in Sayam Forage refugee camp, close to the Nigeria border.

12 August, 2016

Chad Basin (Nigeria, Chad, Niger): The Nigerian military has pushed back Boko Haram back over the last months and civilians are making their way in to towns fleeing the conflict. Journeys are perilous and range from a couple of days to 4 months depending on the security of different routes. Families arrive in very vulnerable states and some told of children dying on the way, old people being pushed in wheelbarrows... MSF are reporting child mortality rates of 3 to 7 per 10,000 population per day. Severe acute malnutrition rates of under 5s are as high as 20% in some places - 15% is considered an emergency. These are shocking figures. Diarrhoea and vomiting are significant problems and the area has endemic cholera - it is currently the wet season. Facilities and other support for people are well below standard. Many others remain trapped in difficult to reach areas. In short this is a serious humanitarian situation that requires a significant increase in assistance and global attention. An untold story is the generosity of host populations - some communities have seen a 50% increase in their population but have shared food and water with minimal external assistance. Our team on ground has done some good work and is well positioned to do more - the critical challenge is funding. We need more media attention and international support.

05 August, 2016

Lake Chad Basin crisis:  Our efforts to focus the international community onto this largely forgotten crises continues. We're also helping a Nigerian government agency put on a concert. Nollywood actors will be among those putting on the entertainment, with people displaced by the conflict talking about their experiences.

Burkina Faso:  In mid-July heavy rains caused significant damage in Ouagadougou and other areas of the country. Collapsed houses, buildings and bridges have been reported while runoff water has damaged roads throughout the country. The flooding has also led to unsanitary conditions in shelters where existing water drainage systems are now filled with waste. In Ouagadougou about 10,000 people have been affected, and other towns' sewage systems have been inundated and people evacuated to school buildings and other temporary sites. 

According to the national agency in charge of emergency management, 20,000 people have been affected overall. Oxfam is addressing the urgent needs for clean water, sanitation and hygiene promotion for the first few weeks after the disaster. We expect to reach around 15,000 beneficiaries in 2 areas: people in schools and other refuges in Ouagadougou, as well as those affected in the villages and hosted by others in rural areas of Centre Nord Region. We are already supporting communities facing food insecurity in the North, and helping citizens returning from Ivory Coast (where they fled to escape inter-communal conflict) in the South.

28 July, 2016

Lake Chad Basin crisis: The need for funds remains urgent. We're asking affiliates to speak to anyone with close links to the cause in a bid to raise the profile and bring funds to this crisis. Meanwhile, programming continues in Nigeria using funds previously secured. Our response there includes borehole construction and rehabilitation, food assistance and hygiene kit distribution. Next week we'll visit some newly accessible areas with a view to expanding our programme further. Our new base Baga Sola, Chad is now operational, and there is a first mission to Daboua planned this week.  The team is almost complete, and agreements with a partner are now in place.  Everyone is keen and motivated to move to the implementation phase.

22 July, 2016

Chad Basin crisis - Niger:  Parts of Niger have been in a state of emergency because of attacks by Boko Haram near the border with Nigeria. About 280,000 people are living in temporary shelters across a huge swathe of territory in southern Niger, but the Government isn't allowing people to cultivate land or use motorbikes in case they become a target. This significantly restricts lives and livelihoods. There are huge logistical challenges getting help to these communities; we have a small programme with 4 staff members helping 10,000 people with distributions of basic items and support with water supplies and food. We want to scale up to support 100,000 people, partly in a camp setting where at the moment there is no water, and a permanent settlement which has swelled from 5,000 people to 20,000 because of refugees. We are planning to recruit more staff for this (to increase the team to 40 people). NB: this whole regional crisis is becoming extremely severe, and several news articles have recently referred to Nigeria being 'on the brink of famine'. But it remains seriously underfunded and not much talked about, so we also need a massive media push to bring the realities of the crisis to the world's attention.

15 July, 2016

Chad Basin crisis: Oxfam now has a plan to significantly scale up our operations in Nigeria, Niger, and Chad in response to this crisis, caused by people displaced by violence from Boko Haram forces. The situation has received scant attention in the media and a lack of funding, but the scale and severity of the emergency has caused massive disruption to people's lives and economic wellbeing across the region. Our new plan is to support 1.5 million people in the three countries, while putting increased energy into trying to get more political attention and media coverage to focus on the crisis, and mobilize more funding for it.

08 July, 2016

Liberia: Oxfam is responding in Monrovia, where heavy rain has caused river banks to burst and flood several communities. There is a risk is that open water wells will be contaminated as the floods sweep through open defecation areas, so urgent action is needed to prevent the spread of disease. We are currently delivering clean water to 15,000 people, as well as looking into chlorination of water sources and planning some hygiene promotion activities.

01 July, 2016

Central African Republic: Oxfam has been training community leaders how to speak effectively to their leaders by building their skills in advocacy, negotiation, media, and risk analysis. The Oxfam team organised a Day for Human Rights coinciding with International Women's Day on the 8th of March, where Muslim and Christian church leaders and local politicians came to hear the community leaders talk about the protection needs of their communities. Community protection and access to aid in two districts of Bangui have both improved as a result!

24 June, 2016

The Chad Basin (Boko Haram response): The response in the Chad Basin will be a complicated one, partly because of the unpredictable movement of Boko Haram insurgents. Working to keep communities safe, as well as providing clean water and access to food, we aim to reach 1.4m people in Nigeria, 100,000 in Niger and 33,000 in Chad.

17 June, 2016

Regional Ebola crisis: A lot has been said about Oxfam's work during the height of the ebola crisis in Liberia and Sierra Leone. But Oxfam teams were also working in Gambia, Senegal, and Guinea Bissau, mainly on preventative measures designed to improve awareness of the risks of ebola, reinforce surveillance mechanisms, and to support local health centres with equipment and training. Most of this was done through local organizations, and through close collaboration with local authorities. While it's always hard to measure the success of preventative measures, our collective efforts will have contributed to the fact that no major outbreak of ebola occurred in these countries despite the high risks.

3 June, 2016

The Chad Basin (Boko Haram response): Oxfam teams have finished an assessment of conditions for people settled around Lake Chad (the western part of Chad that borders Niger and Nigeria). Thousands of people have been fleeing the islands in the lake because of the ongoing war against Boko Haram. Life is very difficult for displaced people, some are in temporary sites, others swelling the population of villages - they are banned from fishing or farming, and the closure of borders means it is difficult for people to move freely. Over the next 6 months we will be trying to support about 40,000 people (about one third of those made homeless) with access to clean water, food, and hygiene facilities, and improve their safety. Additional staff are going in to support.