Oxfam expands relief effort in Nepal

Emergencies, Media Releases, News article written on the 05 May 2015

Oxfam continues to ramp up its relief effort in Nepal, aiming to reach 430,000 people with emergency water, sanitation and shelter.

Oxfam has been delivering aid for more than a week, building pit toilets, providing shelter and clean water and handing out hygiene kits to families in the wake of the Nepal Earthquake.

So far, the international aid agency has helped more than 60,000 people and delivered almost 200,000 litres of clean water.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said the international aid organisation was working in seven districts – three in the Kathmandu Valley and the four rural districts of Gorkha, Sindhulpalchok, Nuwakot and Dhading.

“We’re working to get to hard to reach rural areas,” she said.  “There are huge logistical challenges with getting help to vulnerable people in remote areas, but Oxfam has been trucking in aid supplies in rural areas including Gorkha, where our workers report at least 80 per cent of houses are destroyed and nearly every person is sleeping outside with virtually no toilets,” Dr Szoke said.

“In Gorkha, we’re distributing emergency shelter and hygiene kits, tarpaulins, foam sheets, water containers, chlorine tablets, water purifiers, solar lamps, and latrine construction materials.”

Meanwhile, in the Kathmandu Valley, Oxfam is providing water and pit toilets in seven camps, and working with the Nepalese government and other agencies to plan how to provide clean water and sanitation to more than 34,000 people living in all 16 open-air sites in the Kathmandu Valley, as well as the informal camps that are springing up.

Dr Szoke said Oxfam also was beginning to deliver emergency food such as rice in areas such as Nuwakot, as food supplies were running out; more than 3 million people are thought to need food assistance.

“Many shops and markets remain closed,” she said.  “In some remote areas, there is an acute shortage of food, and many farmers – who make up the majority of the population – have lost their seed for the next season.

“Oxfam is planning food and seed distributions so that farmers can plant new crops.”

Oxfam has been working in Nepal for more than 25 years.  We have been supporting farmers to grow more crops, empower women through literacy programs, improve people’s livelihoods and help communities prepare for disasters.

Oxfam has been working with local partners to support community-level disaster management committees, and provided training on hazards, first aid, search and rescue and early flood warning systems.  We’ve also located emergency relief stock in warehouses in Kathmandu to help with a rapid response, trained emergency response volunteers, and have had pre-agreements with equipment stockists.

“We were able to respond quickly to this terrible disaster and will remain in Nepal for the long haul, to assist in the recovery effort, and work with people to rebuild their lives,” Dr Szoke said.


For more information please contact Laurelle Keough on 0425 701 801 or laurellek@oxfam.org.au