Racing Against Time, Oxfam Scales-up Response in the Philippines

BOSTON, Nov. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Oxfam, an international humanitarian relief and development organization, is setting up programs that aim to reach 500,000 people affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Teams are already on the ground, working with local organizations to provide clean water, food and sanitation facilities.  

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"Roads are clearing and we are just now able to get to some of the hardest hit communities in the Philippines," said Michael Delaney, director of humanitarian response for Oxfam America.  "Oxfam and others delivering relief are now racing against the clock to rush lifesaving water and sanitation aid to communities to help prevent the spread of deadly waterborne diseases."

Working with local partners, Oxfam will provide mobile water treatment units to at least five different sites, complete with generators and fuel to run them.  Mass water storage units capable of holding 2,500-to-12,000 gallons of water, complete with tap stands, will also be installed. Oxfam staff will also treat and/or repair existing hand pumps and water points.

The United Nations has put in place an aid pipeline and airlifted supplies have now arrived in Tacloban. Oxfam, with over 60 years of humanitarian aid experience, will begin trucking water from southern Cebu to northern communities. The aid agency also plans to use ships to deliver hygiene kits, water filtration supplies, water holding tanks and thousands of feet of pipes to provide clean water systems that can last for months.

Oxfam's goal in the first phase of the emergency is to ensure that 20,000 families – about 100,000 people – have access to food, safe water, sanitation facilities, hygiene materials and information.  There are currently four Oxfam teams in the affected areas of Northern Cebu, Leyte and Samar, providing household-level water purification. They are also providing hygiene kits including basic essentials like soap, toothbrushes, underwear and blankets as well as 1,000 communal temporary latrines, cleaning kits and hand-washing stations.

As the people of the Philippines recover from Typhoon Haiyan, Oxfam will also help them rebuild their farming and fishing livelihoods and get markets up and running so that food is available in local shops. As of today, the United Nations estimates that 11.8 million people are affected by Typhoon Haiyan; over 900,000 people remain displaced.

About Oxfam America:
Oxfam America is a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice. As one of 17 members of the international Oxfam confederation, we work with people in more than 90 countries to create lasting solutions. For more information on Oxfam's response in the Philippines, or to donate, please visit: www.oxfamamerica.org.

SOURCE Oxfam America



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