Oxfam Closes Historic Tsunami Response

For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Sean Kenny +44 7766 443 506  - skenny@oxfam.org.uk
Roy Probert +44 (0)77 3800 3555 - roy.probert@oxfaminternational.org
Louis Belanger +1 917 224 0834 - Louis.belanger@oxfaminternational.org

Oxfam Closes Historic Tsunami Response

WASHINGTON - Oxfam International is
preparing to close its response to Indian Ocean tsunami at the end of
this month, four years after the disaster. Oxfam and its local partner
organizations assisted 2.5 million people in seven tsunami-affected
countries in the largest emergency program in its history.

In a
report published today, Barbara Stocking, the chair of the Oxfam
International Tsunami Fund Board, said: "What has been achieved is
astounding. Hundreds of thousands of people are now living in better
conditions than they were in before the tsunami thanks to the generous
support we received from the public, the hard work of our staff and
local partners and the resilience of the affected communities to
rebuild their lives".

Oxfam received $294 million in donations to
help affected people - more than 90 per cent of it from the public. The
sum was used in Indonesia for instance where Oxfam was the first
international agency to provide housing to tsunami survivors in Aceh,
going on to build 1,566 permanent houses. In Sri Lanka, the
international aid agency helped to restore the livelihoods of almost
170,000 people. Oxfam also funded, amongst other projects, the
reconstruction of eight tsunami-affected secondary schools serving
around 6,000 students each year. In India, Oxfam helped to restore the
livelihoods of 660,000 people and create structures to allow them to
save money.

"The money we received allowed us not only to help
meet the immediate emergency needs of tsunami-affected populations, but
also to try to address the factors that made them vulnerable: not least
poverty and a lack of influence over their own lives," Stocking said.

The
activities of Oxfam and its partners ranged from the provision of
emergency clean water and sanitation to people displaced by the
disaster; improving the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of poor
and displaced people, especially women; and the construction of
permanent houses to better protect communities against future disasters.

"The
tangible results, such as the new houses and fishing boats, are only
one marker of progress," Stocking said. "The less visible interventions
are just as important. We have helped to give people better access to
markets for their goods. We have helped them gain the knowledge they
need to protect themselves against future disasters and the confidence
to demand a say in decisions that affect them."

Oxfam hopes that
the world's generous and speedy response to the devastation wrought by
the tsunami will be regarded as landmark. There are processes in place
to keep improving the coordination between international agencies. 
Oxfam itself has extracted many lessons from the tsunami response which
have already been applied in subsequent disasters.

 

Notes to editors

The
Oxfam International Tsunami Fund was established in March 2005 as an
independent company and registered charity in the UK. The Fund
officially closes on 31 December 2008 Oxfam has received $294
million, more than 90% of it from the public. Less than five per cent
has been spent on administration and fundraising costs. The Oxfam
International Tsunami Fund End of Program Report can be found at: http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/tsunami  

Among the many successes of the Oxfam tsunami program are:

In Indonesia (where Oxfam spent $114.4 million, or 44% of the total program spend):

  • As
    well as delivering emergency water supplies, Oxfam built a piped
    municipal water supply system in Lhokseumawe to serve 10,000 people and
    constructed or repaired more than 50 gravity flow water supply systems
    serving 170 villages.
  • Oxfam's advocacy efforts led to the
    agreement by Indonesian authorities to grant all people in Aceh who
    rented or squatted on other people's land before the tsunami the legal
    right to their own home, as well as giving women joint ownership with
    their husbands of newly constructed houses.
  • Oxfam paid for the construction of 30 elementary schools, serving 7,000 children, and the training of 1,200 teachers.
  • Oxfam helped strengthen the fledgling civil society sector by helping to fund 75 organizations.
  • Oxfam
    was the first international agency to provide housing to tsunami
    survivors in Aceh, going on to build 1,566 permanent houses.

    In Sri Lanka (where Oxfam spent $86.6 million, or 33% of the total program spend):

  • Oxfam
    helped to restore the livelihoods of almost 170,000 people. Our
    partner, BRAC, assisted 60,000 women to set up small businesses and now
    reports that 88 per cent of them have higher incomes today than they
    did before the tsunami.
  • Oxfam funding, technical assistance and
    market research helped more than 3,000 poor women coir (coconut fiber)
    workers in southern Sri Lanka to revive and expand their businesses.
    They have now doubled, and in some cases tripled, their incomes.
  • Oxfam funded the reconstruction of eight tsunami-affected secondary schools serving around 6,000 students each year.
  • Oxfam has funded the establishment of a national disaster risk reduction resource center  

In India (where Oxfam spent $45.2 million, or 17% of the total program spend):

  • Oxfam helped to restore the livelihoods of 660,000 people and create structures to allow them to save money for the first time.
  • Oxfam provided 360 new boats to fishermen and repaired another 900 boats and 800 outboard motors.
  • Oxfam
    funded the creation of Village Information Centers in 106 villages,
    which now provide services such as a disaster early warning system,
    market information and computer training courses to 34,000 people.

In
Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India Oxfam also funded the Green Coast
program, which combined environmental rehabilitation, the restoration
of livelihoods and disaster risk reduction. This program directly
helped 106,000 people.

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Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam works directly with communities and that seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

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