Government showing international leadership with Pakistan aid

Emergencies, Media Releases article written on the 17 Sep 2010

Oxfam Australia has commended the Australian Government for its increased injection of aid to help stem a spiralling crisis in flood-hit Pakistan.

Oxfam Australia, Executive Director, Andrew Hewett, said: “Oxfam Australia warmly welcomes today’s announcement of $40 million of additional aid for Pakistan. The Australian Government should be congratulated for the international leadership it is showing with this increased support.

“The flooding in Pakistan is a crisis of a truly epic scale and it’s far from over yet. If the people that need help do not receive it, then disease and hunger could spiral.

“These people have lost so much, but they still could lose more,” said Hewett.

The Australian Government’s announcement comes as Oxfam warns of growing hunger and disease as only a fraction of the people that need help have it.

Water and sanitation, one of the most important areas for disease prevention, has received only 37 percent of the funds it needs, while almost four million of those who need food aid have yet to receive it.

According to UN reports, over 70 percent of the affected population lack access to safe drinking water, and more than 80 percent lack access to clean, functioning toilets. As a result, the number of reported cases of acute diarrhoea and skin diseases has more than trebled in the past three weeks, while the number of reported cases of acute respiratory infections have quadrupled.

Hunger is also a growing concern. Some 40 percent of families in flood-affected areas have lost all their food stocks. With malnutrition rates in the affected areas already high, and more cases of acute diarrhoea reported each day, such lack of food could cause severe problems, particularly amongst children.

Oxfam also warned that the risk of a food crisis could extent to next year. Some 80 percent of the flood-affected population are farmers, and those from areas where the water has not yet receded will almost certainly miss the winter planting season, which starts now. Even in areas where the water has receded, farmers will need considerable help to enable them to plant, as their seeds and tools have been washed away by the flood-waters.

Oxfam is helping one million people, one of its biggest emergency responses worldwide. It currently has an assessment team in Hyderabad, south Sindh, with a view to scaling up there.


For more information or to arrange interviews with Andrew Hewett, please contact:
John Lindsay, Oxfam Australia, Tel 03 9289 9413 or 0425 701801,