Conflict & Emergencies blog channel

Flag and 'no guns' logo on one of the Oxfam vehicles in Kitgum town, Uganda. Credit: Geoff Sayer/Oxfam

They will tell us, again and again, that it cannot be done. That the proliferation of conventional weapons cannot be controlled through a global negotiated effort. That we have to live with automatic guns and other weapons of mass misery traveling from conflict to conflict, without effective controls, with a trail of death and destruction among defenceless civilians.

Ahmed Gul lost five relatives in the conflict, and though he has finally found safety at a camp, the last of his rice is about to run out. Photo: Jonaid Jilani/Oxfam

Oxfam’s Jonaid Jilani reports on the hardships of daily life for those who have fled the recent conflict in Pakistan.

Ahmed Gul was in despair. He had lost five relatives in the conflict in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. Now he had made it to the safety of a camp away from the fighting but the last of his rice was about to run out and he didn’t know how he was going to feed his family of six.

There has been some striking progress in reducing the death toll from natural disasters in recent decades. While Cyclone Sidr killed around 3,000 people in Bangladesh in 2007, similar or weaker storms killed 100 times that number in 1972 and 45 times more people in 1991, largely because governments and local communities have since taken action to reduce risk.

Oxfam is providing water to many communities, including this one in Beit Lahia.

A truck load of Pampers is driven into the Kerem Shalom crossing ahead of us.  One consignment of 36 wooden pallets piled to a height of 160 cm. Not enough to meet the household needs in Gaza where 170 babies are born every day. “We have seen a lot of Pampers and toilet rolls recently,” confides the Israeli army major who is assigned to liaise with the humanitarian community. Also macaroni and spaghetti now that they been approved at the political level of the Israeli administration.

An Afghan aid worker writes about life in Kandahar, one of Afghanistan’s most insecure provinces. His identity has been kept anonymous for reasons of protection. 

The people of Kandahar have suffered through almost thirty years of violence and devastation. The province was destroyed during the Soviet war, with Soviet forces surrounding Kandahar city and shelling it from all sides. Even after the Soviets left, the conflict carried on between Afghans until the Taliban took over in 1994. 

Boy in a damaged house, Beit Zaitoun, Gaza. Credit: Kenny Rae/Oxfam

Three weeks after both sides declared a ceasefire, the effects of further Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli missile strikes are being felt across the Gaza Strip, writes Michael Robin Bailey.

I am standing next to the drinking water well in El Atattara. There was a big jagged hole in the wall. Large enough to climb through.

Gaza needs an immediate and permanent ceasefire

Plans change. I had been thinking that my first post of the year was going to be about wishing that you all had a wonderful holiday, and thanking you for your support of Oxfam over the past year. But the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza has pre-empted that plan.

As fighting between the Israeli army and Hamas militias has intensified over the last two weeks, the impact on civilians has been terrible, with innocent women, men and children being killed and injured.

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