Oxfam scaling up response to Sri Lanka landslides and flooding; assessing damage following Bangladesh cyclone

Media Releases article written on the 23 May 2016

Oxfam has scaled up its response in the aftermath of last week’s deadly Sri Lanka landslides and flooding.

Oxfam Australia’s Humanitarian Response Coordinator Richard Simpson said Oxfam was responding in Killinochchi (Northern Province), Puttlam (North-Central Province), Kegalle (Central Province) and starting work in Gamapaha in the Western Province. Field teams were assessing the damage in other areas.

“According to the latest reports from the Ministry of Disaster Management, more than 340,000 Sri Lankans have been affected and more than 230,000 have been displaced,” Mr Simpson said.

“So far Oxfam has reached 6,125 people (1,750 families) with activities including setting up portable toilets and water trucking.”

Cash for Work programs also will be set up in the same areas.

Meanwhile, Oxfam has sent assessment teams to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Roanu, which smashed into Bangladesh coastal communities late yesterday afternoon.

According to the Bangladeshi Government, more than 140,000 families have been affected so far, with 23,000 houses destroyed and 26 killed.

Mr Simpson said Oxfam had dispatched assessment teams to Chittagong and Barishal, two of the worst-hit areas. Oxfam would be ready to mount a response in coordination with national authorities if needed.

He said Cyclone Roanu hit most of the coast of Bangladesh with gusts reaching between 62km/h and 88 km/h with very heavy rain.

“Flood defences were damaged and overrun, villages were flooded, and many roads waterlogged. People have lost their homes, crops, stock and thousands have been evacuated to cyclone centres,” Mr Simpson said.

Oxfam’s work in disaster-prone regions of Bangladesh includes sustainable livelihoods, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, water and sanitation, women’s leadership and gender-based violence.

You can support Oxfam’s response to humanitarian crises by donating to our International Crisis Fund or by calling 1800 034 034.

For further information and interviews with Oxfam staff please contact Bianca Wordley on 0407 799 365 or biancaw@oxfam.org.au