The Australian Government’s $20 million funding increase for the Typhoon response – bringing its overall contribution to $30 million – is a welcome and much needed injection into the massive relief effort under way in the Philippines, Oxfam Australia said today.
Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Helen Szoke, speaking from Cebu, said the $30 million from the government was in line with contributions from other wealthy countries like UK and New Zealand.
“We’re hoping other rich countries like the US, Germany and Japan step up and do their fair share to help a country struggling with the worst humanitarian disaster it has ever faced,” Dr Szoke said.
Dr Szoke is today in Cebu – the logistical hub of Oxfam’s typhoon response.
“We have just received another shipment from Manila of hygiene kits with soap, blankets and toothpaste. These kits are on standby at an Oxfam warehouse in Cebu, ready for dispatch to people in affected areas,” Dr Szoke said.
Oxfam has four teams in the affected areas (Northern Cebu, Leyte and Samar) providing household level water purification. Overall, Oxfam will set up programs that aim to reach 500,000 people affected by the crisis.
An estimated 11.5 million people are affected by Typhoon Haiyan, with 544,600 people still displaced. More than 380,000 people are in 1,215 evacuation centres across 9 affected regions.
Dr Szoke said water and sanitation equipment was arriving into the country, and being taken to affected areas. Oxfam is delivering sanitation kits to 10,000 people this week.
“Oxfam aims to reach 20,000 families – more than 100,000 people – in the first phase of our response,” she said.
Overall, Oxfam will set up programs aim to reach 500,000 people affected by the crisis.
Dr Szoke said water and sanitation systems had been damaged by the typhoon and were not working in many areas, and some ground water supplies had been contaminated.
“High temperatures and dirty water mean the risk of waterborne diseases is high,” she said. “Making sure people have access to clean water and sanitation is critical.
“That’s why Oxfam is working to distribute hygiene kits drinking and clean water, and establish hygienic latrines to prevent human sewage from contaminating water sources.”