Oxfam’s aid effort in Chad three weeks away from total shutdown

Emergencies, Media Releases article written on the 10 Feb 2008

Oxfam warned today that its aid effort in eastern Chad is three weeks away from total shut down when it will be forced to turn off the water for more than 100,000 people. Fighting in the capital N’djamena over the weekend has cut supply lines going to the east, where 470,000 refugees and displaced people are dependent on humanitarian aid. The agency is calling on the UN and donors to open up an airlift of aid and alternative land link to get the aid through.
‘If we don’t get more fuel for the water pumps and fresh people in to run the aid effort, we will be forced to turn off the taps for 110,000 people within the next three weeks at best. We are calling on the UN and donors to organise an air lift from neighboring Cameroon and a reliable food and fuel supply line in order to keep providing clean water and humanitarian aid to refugees and displaced Chadians,’ said Oxfam Australia’s Executive Director, Andrew Hewett.
The aid effort is running on empty. Oxfam will face shortages of cash, fuel and food within the next three weeks, if the security situation does not improve.
‘We have around three weeks of stock that will allow us to keep our operations going in eastern Chad, but our top priority is to be able to rotate our staff to keep the program going,’ said Mr Hewett.
The fighting has completely cut off the landlocked eastern region from the rest of the country and the outside world for almost a week. International flights have stopped. There have been no flights between Ndjamena and the rest of the country for one week.
In Chad, Oxfam’s operations are focused on providing water and sanitation, protection and health promotion to more 110,000 people. There are nearly half a million people displaced in Eastern Chad. The majority of them are refugees from the Darfur conflict.
‘Two-thirds of Darfur’s population are now living in “temporary” camps as refugees or internally displaced peoples,’ said Andrew Hewett, Executive Director, Oxfam Australia. ‘We cannot turn our back on these people,’ he said.
Oxfam has evacuated international staff from the capital but is keeping staff in the east to continue its operations. They are delivering life-saving water operations and they are stretched to full capacity, working around the clock.
For more information or an interview with Andrew Hewett call Melany Markham +61 407 515 559