Sumatra and Samoa: Oxfam responds with emergency staff and equipment

Emergencies, Media Releases article written on the 01 Oct 2009

International aid agency Oxfam is appealing for support from the Australian public after a devastating 24 hours across the Asia-Pacific region.

Oxfam is sending additional emergency staff and supplies to respond both to last night’s deadly earthquake in Sumatra, Indonesia and yesterday’s tsunami in Samoa.

Oxfam Australia Acting Executive Director Chris Roche said the disasters of the past 24 hours come on top of a week which has also seen Oxfam and its partners responding to widespread flooding in the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

“Oxfam has set up an Asia-Pacific Disaster Appeal and we are asking for help to fund our work. We know Australians want to support the many people in our region who have been hit by tragedy this week,” Mr Roche said.

“Responding to these disasters will stretch Oxfam’s resources, but we are gearing up to make sure that help gets to where it’s needed most.”

“In Indonesia, Oxfam supported staff from local organisations are already in the earthquake hit area of West Sumatra, and are distributing 2,400 tarpaulins to provide urgently needed shelter, as well as hygiene kits and clothing.

“In Samoa, staff from our local partner are out today assessing the urgent needs of people affected by the tsunami and delivering water, food and clothing to those worst affected,” Mr Roche said.

“We also have staff on the ground helping some of the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the flooding caused by Typhoon Ketsana in the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

“We’ve prepared for disasters in the Asia-Pacific by pre-positioning additional emergency relief supplies in the region so that they can be deployed quickly. That includes urgently needed items like tarpaulins, water buckets and mosquito nets.

“Our staff will now be working with local authorities and other agencies to ensure that aid gets to where its most needed quickly, and reaches those people most in need,” Mr Roche said.

To donate to Oxfam’s Asia-Pacific Disaster Appeal visit or phone 1800 088110

For more information contact: Media Coordinator Kate Thwaites on +61 407 515 559,