Fifth Anniversary Of Asian Tsunami

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23rd December 2009, 12:53pm - Views: 391
Fifth anniversary of the Asian Tsunami

Oxfam closes final elements of its tsunami aid programme 2.5 million people helped, 10,800 wells, 2,900 houses, 102 schools, 31 bridges built and 100 km of roads cleared and constructed.

By the fifth anniversary of the 2004 Asian tsunami, 26 December 2009, international aid and development agency Oxfam will close its last few remaining tsunami aid projects, having helped approximately 2.5 million people.

The tsunami response was the largest aid effort Oxfam has ever undertaken in its 67-year history. Oxfam Australia's Executive Director Andrew Hewett said the enormous aid effort was only possible due to the overwhelming and unprecedented level of public generosity. Oxfam globally raised US $294m to carry out its aid program. 92 per cent of this came from public donations. However the agency has warned that future emergencies might not attract the level of funding needed.

"Oxfam projects that in six years' time the number of people affected by climatic crises could rise by 54 per cent, to 375 million people, threatening to overwhelm the humanitarian aid system," Mr Hewett said.

"Ongoing conflicts in places such as Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo will also need substantial and sustained humanitarian support." Oxfam worked in seven tsunami hit countries; Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Thailand and Somalia. In the wake of the disaster, which killed 227,000 people and left 1.7 million homeless, Oxfam concentrated on people's immediate needs, emergency shelter, water supply and public health.

As the programs grew, Oxfam focused on helping people make a living and also on efforts to address some of the obstacles survivors faced such as land rights.
There was also a particular emphasis on supporting women, not only with material help but also assisting them to have a say in the way their communities organised themselves. "The tsunami was a devastating event which was met by a truly monumental expression of public generosity and compassion. This allowed local people, local organisations, governments and aid agencies to come together in an extraordinary aid effort," Mr Hewett said.

"The scale of the disaster raised huge challenges for the aid world. The hard work of our staff and local partners and the sheer fortitude and resilience of the tsunami survivors helped us rise to meet those difficult challenges," Mr Hewett said.

For more information contact: Oxfam Australia media Co-ordinator, Kate Thwaites [email protected], +61 407 515 559

Oxfam is a leading international aid agency working with communities around the world for solutions to poverty and social injustice.


SOURCE: Oxfam
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