Oxfam International Blogs - peace http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/peace en Hope For Yemen as UK Arms to Saudi Arabia Ruled Unlawful http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-06-21-hope-yemen-uk-arms-saudi-arabia-ruled-unlawful <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>The UK Court of Appeal <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/jun/20/uk-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia-for-use-in-yemen-declared-unlawful" rel="nofollow">has ruled</a> that the sale of UK arms being used by Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen are unlawful. The <a href="https://www.caat.org.uk/" rel="nofollow">Campaign Against Arms Trade</a> began this case three years ago. Oxfam has supported it as an intervenor, providing witness testimony about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and expert evidence about the protection of civilians under International Humanitarian Law.</strong></p><p>This is more than just some legal wrangle in London.</p><p><strong>Deadly hypocrisy</strong></p><p>Calling for peace while selling weapons that allow Saudi Arabia to continue bombing Yemen is an utter hypocrisy that is having deadly consequences for the people of Yemen. This Appeal Court ruling is a victory for them.</p><p>The suffering of people of Yemen is getting worse as the fighting and bombing continues.</p><p>The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees says there have been <a href="https://www.unhcr.org/uk/news/press/2019/3/5c8121734/100-civilian-casualties-week-yemen-2018.html" rel="nofollow">more than 17,000 verified civilian deaths and injuries</a> during the war.</p><p>The number of incidents in which children have been killed or injured have more than tripled between the last quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of this year.</p><p>Every month there are around 600 strikes against civilian infrastructure, with more than 100 hospitals, <a href="https://www.savethechildren.org/us/about-us/media-and-news/2019-press-releases/seven-killed-in-hospital-bombing-yemen" rel="nofollow">health facilities</a> and schools hit just last year alone. These are war crimes.</p><p><img alt="Photo: Airstrike destruction of civilian houses in Sana&#039;a, Yemen. Credit: Bassam Al-Thulaya/Oxfam`" title="Photo: Airstrike destruction of civilian houses in Sana&#039;a, Yemen. Credit: Bassam Al-Thulaya/Oxfam" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/ogb_117167_dsc_9761-bedroom-1240-credit.jpg" /></p><p><em>Photo: Airstrike destruction of civilian houses in Sana'a, Yemen. Credit: Bassam Al-Thulaya/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>The effects of four years of war</strong></p><p>More than 3.3 million Yemenis have been displaced, 10 million are on the brink of famine and 24 million need aid. The world’s worst cholera outbreak in happening in Yemen. All this is being caused by four years of war being fuelled by arms sold from outside Yemen including those by British companies.</p><p>The court rules that the British government should have suspended its sales as soon as the scale of war crimes and human rights abuses became clear. In refusing to assess the scale of attacks on civilians, the court says the UK government rendered its export licensing process unlawful.</p><p><strong>These arms are a 'clear risk'</strong></p><p>The ruling hinged on the definition of “clear risk”, the words in the consolidated criteria that the government uses to assess its decisions to grant arms exports.</p><p>Was there a “clear risk” that Saudi Arabia would use UK arms to attack civilians and civilian infrastructure? Even after multiple attacks on hospitals, markets, mosques, and aid projects including several Oxfam water projects, the UK government deliberately made no attempt to determine whether there had been a pattern of breaches of international humanitarian law, which should have informed them about the likelihood of future violations.</p><p>The British government has ignored years of such warnings and evidence. Why? Because the UK government has licensed <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/jun/20/uk-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia-for-use-in-yemen-declared-unlawful" rel="nofollow">over £4.7 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia</a> since they went to war in Yemen, with unknown amounts of bombs additionally being sold through secretive “open licenses.”</p><p><img alt="Photo: Ibrahim, 43, with his children fled the fighting in Hajjah governorate, Yemen. Credit: Sami M. Jassar/Oxfam" title="Photo: Ibrahim, 43, with his children fled the fighting in Hajjah governorate, Yemen. Credit: Sami M. Jassar/Oxfam" height="800" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/114830lpr-family-1200-credit.jpg" /></p><p><em>Ibrahim, 43, and his children fled the fighting in Hajjah governorate, and now live in a one-room house made of wood and threadbare cloths, with no access to food, water, education, or health services. One of Ibrahim’s children died from cholera infection. Credit: Sami M. Jassar/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>Conflict causes poverty</strong></p><p>In Oxfam’s experience, we need to tackle the root causes that keep people locked into cycles of poverty and suffering in order to have a truly lasting impact on their lives. We not only <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-yemen" rel="nofollow">deliver life-saving water and aid</a> to people affected by the conflict in Yemen, we’re also doing everything possible to end the conflict as soon as possible.</p><p>This ruling offers real hope for the people of Yemen.</p><p>The British government must now immediately halt its arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and create a new process for licensing arms exports. This must comply with the UK’s obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty, the EU Common Position on Arms and its own domestic law to uphold human rights.</p><p><strong>An international trend</strong></p><p>This win is part of an international trend. Just last week the <a href="https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2019/05/10/foreign-ministers-calls-for-an-end-to-belgian-weapon-exports-to/" rel="nofollow">Belgian Council of State</a>, their highest court, ruled that continuing arms sales to Saudi Arabia are illegal, forcing changes in Belgian arms licensing procedures.</p><p><a href="https://thedefensepost.com/2019/03/29/germany-extends-saudi-arabia-arms-export-ban-september/" rel="nofollow">Germany</a> has suspended some sales to Saudi Arabia.</p><p>The US Congress has voted repeatedly to end weapons transfers to fuel the war in Yemen, however the Trump administration has overruled it.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/saudi-arabia-arms-embargo-weapons-europe-germany-denmark-uk-yemen-war-famine-a8648611.html" rel="nofollow">Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark</a> have all suspended transfers to Saudi Arabia. A legal case is being prepared in Spain.</p><p>These legal processes are slow but they are beginning to force governments to do what they should have done voluntarily years ago – stop selling arms that are fuelling a terrible war in Yemen and killing women, men and children every day.</p><p><em>This entry posted on 19 November 2018, by Martin Butcher, Oxfam's Policy Advisor on Arms and Conflict.</em></p><p><em>Photos: Airstrike destruction of civilian houses in Sana'a, Yemen. Credit: Bassam Al-Thulaya/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>Read more:</strong></p><ul><li><em><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/search/node/yemen"><strong>More blogs on Yemen</strong></a></em></li><li><strong><em><strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-yemen" rel="nofollow">Support Oxfam's humanitarian response in Yemen</a></strong></em><br></strong></li></ul></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Hope For Yemen as UK Arms to Saudi Arabia Ruled Unlawful</h2></div> Fri, 21 Jun 2019 14:19:07 +0000 Martin Butcher 82004 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-06-21-hope-yemen-uk-arms-saudi-arabia-ruled-unlawful#comments Seven things you need to know about the war in Yemen http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-03-26-seven-things-you-need-know-about-war-yemen <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Yemen is experiencing what the UN describes as the ‘world’s worst’ humanitarian crisis. Ping us on <a href="https://twitter.com/Oxfam" rel="nofollow">social media</a> and tell us, how many of these seven things did you already know?</strong></p><p><strong>1. Hunger is rampant. </strong></p><p>Two thirds of Yemen's people rely on food aid to survive, and 14 million people are on the brink of famine.</p><p><strong>2. A ceasefire is urgent. </strong></p><p>Maintaining and expanding the ceasefire in and around Hudaydah is vital to millions of people who are struggling to survive. Yemenis desperately need all parties to the conflict to agree to an immediate countrywide ceasefire and return to negotiations committed to achieving a lasting peace.</p><p><strong>3. Peace must be inclusive. </strong></p><p>The pursuit of peace needs to be an inclusive political process which includes Yemeni women, youth and civil society, to bring an end to the conflict and suffering.</p><p><img alt="Fatima holds her son’s photo, who was killed by an airstrike when they were trying to find safety away from conflict’s frontlines in Yemen. Photo: VFX ADEN/Oxfam" title="Fatima holds her son’s photo, who was killed by an airstrike when they were trying to find safety away from conflict’s frontlines in Yemen. Photo: VFX ADEN/Oxfam" height="826" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/115865lpr-fatima-holds-pic-of-son-1240_0.jpg" /></p><p><em>Fatima holds her son’s photo, who was killed by an airstrike when they were trying to find safety away from conflict’s frontlines in Yemen. Photo: VFX ADEN/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>4. The crisis is entirely man-made, and is being fuelled by arms sales from the US and UK, among others. </strong></p><p>The world cannot continue to turn a blind eye to Yemen’s suffering and must <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/18-11-20-stop-bombs-yemen-starving">stop selling weapons for use in the war</a>.</p><p><strong>5. Women and children are hit hardest. </strong></p><p>The UN estimates that 3 million women and girls are at risk of gender-based violence. Children and young men have been coerced into joining armed groups, and many girls are forced into early marriage. Families are being forced to make the desperate choice to marry off their girls even as young as three years old to reduce the number of family members to feed, but also as a source of income in order to feed the rest of the family and pay off debts.</p><p><img height="826" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/ogb_115958_oxfam-latrine-1240_0.jpg" alt="" /></p><p><em>Oxfam has provided latrines and other humanitarian assistance in hard to reach areas, like this remote village in Al Madaribah district, Lahj governorate, Yemen. Photo: VFX ADEN/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>6. Oxfam is there. </strong></p><p>Since July 2015, working with local and international partners, we have <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-yemen" rel="nofollow">reached 3 million people</a> in Yemen with humanitarian aid. And we've stepped up our work there.</p><p><strong>7. We work alongside and through local partners in all areas of our response in Yemen. </strong></p><p>This includes water trucking, cholera prevention, repairing water systems and delivering filters and jerry cans. Oxfam also partners with local organizations to campaign for an end to the conflict and an inclusive peace agreement that takes into account the needs and views of women, youth and civil society.</p><p><strong>Read more</strong></p><ul><li><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/tags/yemen"><strong>Blogs on Yemen</strong></a></li><li><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-yemen" rel="nofollow"><strong>Support Oxfam's humanitarian work in Yemen</strong></a></li></ul></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Seven things you need to know about the war in Yemen</h2></div> Tue, 26 Mar 2019 16:33:01 +0000 Joel M Bassuk 81912 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-03-26-seven-things-you-need-know-about-war-yemen#comments Stop the Bombs, Yemen is Starving http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-11-20-stop-bombs-yemen-starving <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>In recent days in the port city of Hodeidah in Yemen, hundreds of bombs have been dropped on and fighting has raged around the hospital</strong>. Houthis artillery fire in Yemen, and across the border into Saudi villages and towns, has similar effects. This intensification of fighting in the has put the spotlight back on the terrible conflict which has been raging since 2014.</p> <p>The tragedy here is that the crisis is human made and a product largely of arms brought in from outside of Yemen, both before the war and since it started.</p> <h3>Millions of People Are in Need</h3> <p>The fighting has <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/yemen-hodeida-port-city-war-civilians-saudi-arabia-houthis-a8404841.html">trapped about 600,000 civilians</a> in the city as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seek to wrest control of the port from Houthi forces, who have some backing from Iran. Hodeidah is strategically important as the vast majority of humanitarian aid for Yemen flows through the port, and the risk is that the fighting will leave the 22.2 million people in need of aid without access to food or medical supplies.</p> <p>In the past week, the World Food Programme has been <a href="https://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/yemen-al-hudaydah-update-situation-report-no-14-reporting-period-16-october-13-november">unable to access</a> 51,000 metric tons (MT) of wheat grain stored at the Red Sea Mills in the city, enough to feed 3.5 million people for a month. And a vital UNHCR warehouse containing emergency shelter and non-food items has become inaccessible.</p> <h3>Imported Arms Are Fuelling Death in Yemen</h3> <p>This terrible situation is entirely caused by a war in which the parties are dependent on arms supplied from outside the country.</p> <p>For the coalition side, arms, equipment and munitions have come mostly from western countries. The Saudi Arabian Air Force flies military jets from the US and UK, with bombs and missiles are supplied by those States and also notably by Italy. The UAE is also a coalition partner with a strong presence on the ground in Yemen including in the fighting in Hodeidah. The UAE is equipped with tanks and other armoured vehicles by France, and by a Canadian-owned Dubai based military vehicle manufacturer. France has also sold jets to the UAE and Qatar.</p> <p>Concerns about violations of International Human Rights Law (IHL), which have been committed by all parties to the conflict, have until recently not had much effect on the supply of bombs, missiles and other military arms and equipment to Saudi Arabia or other coalition countries.</p> <p>However, following the <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-45812399">murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi</a> in Turkey by the Saudi government, countries such as Germany, Norway and Austria have recently announced a suspension of arms transfers to the Kingdom, and pressed other EU states to do the same. Most recently, the <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security/u-s-ends-refueling-support-in-yemen-war-as-pressure-builds-on-saudi-arabia-idUSKCN1NF06R">US announcement</a> on October 10, of an end of refuelling for Saudi fighter jets active in Yemen, should hopefully constrain their ability to maintain a high operational tempo.</p> <p>Research by the UNSC mandated panel of experts showed that Iran smuggled arms into Yemen for use by the Houthis - who have also used arms and equipment from government forces which they seized, or were given by deserting army units in the early stages of the war. Further research by independent analysts have also shown continuing supplies of explosives and military technology, including missiles and drones, from Iran.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr" xml:lang="en">The people of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Yemen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Yemen</a> are experiencing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. <br /><br />They desperately need our support: <a href="https://t.co/P3wXVqCmiv">https://t.co/P3wXVqCmiv</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/YemenCantWait?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#YemenCantWait</a> <a href="https://t.co/HwoOAyWmKW">pic.twitter.com/HwoOAyWmKW</a></p> <p>— Oxfam International (@Oxfam) <a href="https://twitter.com/Oxfam/status/1064272535292768256?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 18, 2018</a></p></blockquote> <script async="" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><h3>Women Are Affected Most</h3> <p>Oxfam is particularly concerned about the gendered impact of arms supplied to all combatants, with the burden of the violence <a href="http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/humanitarian-action/facts-and-figures">falling particularly heavily on women and girls</a> trapped in war zones.</p> <p>Explosive weapons like the bombs and missiles used in Yemen put women at greater health risk than men:</p> <ul><li>especially due to the lack of access to healthcare after exposure to explosive weapons use or because of miscarriage;</li> <li>women are more discriminated against than men if disfigured or disabled as a result of such exposure;</li> <li>women are more vulnerable economically and socially than men especially if displaced by explosive weapons use;</li> <li>and women are usually less able to participate than men in rebuilding societies and infrastructure after conflict, meaning their needs are less likely to be met.</li> </ul><p>Fighting in Yemen has also caused the <a href="https://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/yemen-unhcr-update-march-2018">displacement of over 2 million people</a>. Among other gendered effects of conflict, it is known that displaced women have a higher risk of exposure and exploitation, and in particular are subject to gender-based violence.</p> <p>Research shows that during conflict and militarisation of societies there is often an increase in sexism and violence towards women and therefore also an <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4012695/">increase in the risk of sexual violence</a>, which then usually goes unpunished.</p> <h3>Yemen Is Desperate for Peace</h3> <p>Oxfam has <a href="https://www.oxfam.org.uk/scotland/blog/2017/09/yemenoped">consistently called</a> on <a href="https://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2017/12/bringing-the-blockade-of-yemen-to-washington/">all States</a> to <a href="https://www.oxfam.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2015/09/uk-arms-sales-fuelling-yemen-crisis-in-potential-breach-of-law-says-oxfam">stop the supply of arms</a> to all those fighting in Yemen, and where suppliers are party to the Arms Trade Treaty, to live up to their <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2018-11-07/oxfam-joins-yemeni-and-international-organizations-call-immediate-ceasefire">obligations to cease supplies</a> where there is an overriding risk of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.</p> <p>The people of Yemen need peace.</p> <p>They need the arms supplies to stop and supplies of food and medicine to enter the country unimpeded to meet their needs.</p> <p>They need materials for the reconstruction of civilian infrastructure destroyed in fighting.</p> <p>So far, countries have <a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/perverse-cycle-european-arms-sales-saudi-and-uae-worth-sixty-times-aid-yemen-356882718">earned much more from arms sales</a> than they have given in humanitarian aid.</p> <p>This needs to end, and end now.</p> <p>The new and fragile ceasefire offers hope. Will it last?</p> <p><em>This entry posted on 19 November 2018, by Martin Butcher, Oxfam's Policy Advisor on Arms and Conflict.</em></p> <p><em>Photo: Jameela Ahmed's three boys sitting in the room they live in, in a village outside Khamer city, Yemen. Jameela's husband died about seven years ago, so she takes care of her children. In Amran governorate, Oxfam has reached over 205,000 people. In these hard-to-reach areas, we set up some cash assistance projects to support people’s battle against starvation, and malnourished children receive treatment from Oxfam’s partners. We have also run projects for hygiene awareness and cholera prevention. Credit: Gabreez/Oxfam<br /></em></p> <h3>Read more:</h3> <ul><li><em><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/search/node/yemen"><strong>Blogs on Yemen</strong></a><br /></em></li> <li><em><strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-yemen">Support Oxfam's humanitarian response in Yemen</a><br /></strong></em></li> <li><em><strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases?keys=yemen&amp;created%5Bmin%5D%5Bdate%5D=&amp;created%5Bmax%5D%5Bdate%5D=">Oxfam's press releases on Yemen</a><br /></strong></em></li> </ul></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Stop the Bombs, Yemen is Starving</h2></div> Tue, 20 Nov 2018 09:05:12 +0000 Martin Butcher 81784 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-11-20-stop-bombs-yemen-starving#comments Dreaming of Peace: The Women Inside South Sudan's Protection of Civilians Camp http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-09-20-dreaming-peace-women-inside-south-sudans-protection-civilians-camp <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>“The world has forgotten about us.”</strong></em></p><p><strong></strong>For 48-year-old Rebecca Nyawal, this is what it means to be forgotten: to live with just two small beds to fit her family of seven, a small stove, a soft ground under their feet that turns into mud during the rainy season, and to boil under an iron-sheet that heats her home like an oven.</p><p><strong>They used to have a better home</strong> at the Malakal town in South Sudan, with a garden where the kids could play, better ventilation, and better access to everything they needed: markets, school, and the chance to make a living. But when war decimated her hometown in 2014, they had to leave everything behind and seek refuge inside the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (<a href="https://twitter.com/unmissmedia" rel="nofollow">UNMISS</a>) Protection of Civilians (PoC) camp.</p><p><strong>“Women here die of heartbreak,”</strong> Rebecca tells us one afternoon, inside the PoC. “Women would stay in their house – they think about the loved ones they have lost in this war, their husbands, their sons, their daughters. And then one day, the women would just be found dead in their homes. They die of heartbreak.”</p><p><strong>Rebecca is joined</strong> by around 25,000 others, also living their lives in waiting, cramped inside the camp, with an average living space of only 17 square meters per person. The&nbsp;Protection of Civilians camp was <a href="https://odihpn.org/magazine/protection-of-civilians-sites-a-new-type-of-displacement-settlement/" rel="nofollow">supposed to offer temporary haven</a> where civilians could be protected from the worst of the conflict. But four years after the first bullets flew in the former Upper Nile state, Rebecca is still living in the cramped conditions inside the PoC.</p><p><strong>Rape, killings, and other form of attacks</strong> on people who ventured out of the camp, even just to collect wood or go fishing, were common for years - and people still don’t feel safe to leave after dark.</p><p><img alt="Women’s bread-making group inside the Protection of Civilians (PoC) camp, South Sudan. Photo: Rhea Catada/Oxfam" title="Women’s bread-making group inside the Protection of Civilians (PoC) camp, South Sudan. Photo: Rhea Catada/Oxfam" height="723" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/02-rebecca-and-friends-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Women’s bread-making group inside the Protection of Civilians (PoC) camp, South Sudan. Photo: Rhea Catada/Oxfam</em></p><h3>Every night, a different heartbreak</h3><p><strong>“The world doesn’t think about what we are going through. The world has forgotten us,” </strong>says Rebecca.</p><p>What would she want the world to know about her life?</p><p>Every night, she said she thinks about the pile of dead bodies outside the PoC gate the day conflict broke out.</p><p>Every night, she thinks about the women and men inside the camp who had suffered long enough from depression and trauma, and have decided to end their lives.</p><p>Every night, a different heartbreak. “I think about all of them, every single day,” she says.</p><p><strong>Rebecca is not alone with her thoughts.</strong> She is surrounded by women who share her dreams, and come together to support each other. As the leader of a women’s bread-making group working inside the PoC, she has become the de facto “Mama” of the group – a title commonly used for elderly, respected women.</p><p>The women’s bread-making group is one of the projects under the Humanitarian and Resilience in South Sudan (HARISS) program, implemented by Oxfam and local partner organization<a href="http://unydasouthsudan.org/" rel="nofollow"> Upper Nile Youth Development Association</a> (UNYDA) in the Malakal PoC and the town itself. The program is geared towards helping people get back on their feet by helping them make a living.</p><p>As the “Mama” of a bread-making group, she is seen by the women as someone they can come to with their problems. Some of the women in the groups were widowed by the war, while the conflict has caused some of them to be separated from their families.</p><p><img alt="Rebecca Nyawal, South Sudan. Photo: Rhea Catada/Oxfam " title="Rebecca Nyawal, South Sudan. Photo: Rhea Catada/Oxfam " height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="3" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/01-rebecca-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Rebecca Nyawal, baking bread. Photo: Rhea Catada/Oxfam,&nbsp;<em>South Sudan.</em></em></p><h3>Friendship, strength - and longing for peace</h3><p>For Rebecca and the members of the group, getting together at Oxfam’s livelihood center in the Malakal Protection of Civilian site, is no longer just about making that soft, chewy bread that people have come to love. It has also become about friendship, about being each other’s strength.</p><p>"I think the bread-making business is the best thing to happen to us inside the PoC," she says. "Not only do we keep ourselves busy and earn money, we also fostered solidarity among us. We share our hopes and dreams, we share our experiences, our sadness and our happiness. Being together is helping us cope with the stress of living inside the camp."</p><p>Rebecca told us that while the women are grateful for this program, what they all long for is peace. “What we ultimately need is to have normal lives, go back to our homes, and not live in fear anymore.”</p><p><strong>“Every night we pray: let peace come to South Sudan.</strong> Keli salam ja fee Junub Sudan,” she says.</p><p>As news of fighting rumbles on after each ceasefire is signed, Rebecca says she suspects that her country’s leaders may never listen to her call, but she repeats those words again and again, hoping they will have weight.</p><p>“Keli salam ja fee Junub Sudan,” she says “Keli salam ja fee Junub Sudan.”</p><p><img alt="Marsa Adyang, member of the women&#039;s bead-making group, Malakal PoC camp, South Sudan. Photo: Rhea Catada" title="Marsa Adyang, member of the women&#039;s bead-making group, Malakal PoC camp, South Sudan. Photo: Rhea Catada" height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="4" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/04-marsa-portrait-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Marsa Adyang, together with other women inside the Malakal camp, is being supported by Oxfam’s HARISS program so they can make a living out of making and selling bead accessories. Marsa says: “As a group, we really bonded well. We have tea together, we talk about our lives, our experiences, our problems, our joys. If it’s only one of us who sold beads for an entire day, that person wouldn’t pocket it: she will share it to the others in the group, redistribute it. She collects the money and divide it among ourselves."</em></p><p><em><em>This entry posted on 20 September 2018 by Rhea Catada, Oxfam Media and Communications Lead, South Sudan. </em></em></p><p><em><em>Top photo: Rebecca Nyawal, South Sudan. </em>All photos credit: Rhea Catada/Oxfam.</em></p><p><em>Oxfam and our partners are working across South Sudan <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/18-05-11-making-difference-south-sudan-ensuring-those-need-are-not-forgotten">to save lives</a> and help people build for the future.&nbsp;Since the conflict's start in 2015, we've reached over 500,000 people with emergency and longer-term support. The work described in this blog is carried out with the support of <a href="https://www.ukaiddirect.org/" rel="nofollow">UK Aid</a>.</em></p><h3>Read more</h3><ul><li><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/hunger-crisis-south-sudan" rel="nofollow"><strong>Support Oxfam's work in South Sudan</strong></a></li><li><strong>Blog: <a href="https://views-voices.oxfam.org.uk/gender/2018/05/resilience-in-south-sudan-surviving-today-hope-for-tomorrow" rel="nofollow">Resilience in South Sudan: surviving today, hope for tomorrow</a></strong></li></ul><p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Dreaming of Peace: The Women Inside South Sudan&#039;s Protection of Civilians Camp </h2></div> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 21:20:34 +0000 Guest Blogger 81713 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-09-20-dreaming-peace-women-inside-south-sudans-protection-civilians-camp#comments In South Sudan, Oxfam races the rains to save lives http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-04-04-south-sudan-oxfam-races-rains-save-lives <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>In the middle of war, even the simple solutions to staying healthy can feel impossible. In South Sudan, Oxfam is bringing education and resources to communities to help save lives - every day.<br></strong></p><p>"You can do many simple things to keep control of cholera and diarrhea," explains Yoal, an Oxfam health volunteer in Pading, South Sudan. But it gets more complicated when your town’s water pumps break down and people are forced to drink swamp water. When animals drink and defecate in the same water sources. When there are no toilets.&nbsp;When you only have one container for bathing, collecting water, and washing clothes and dishes. When conflict cuts off your town from almost all trade and the price of soap is more than many people earn in a week. When sick people must walk 30 miles through blistering heat to reach the nearest hospital.</p><p>“It is hard for people to keep healthy here,” Yoal sighs. “In 2017, we had so many cases of cholera and diarrhea. We lost 27 people.”</p><p><img src="https://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/default/files/yoal-1240.jpg" alt=" Tim Bierley/Oxfam" title=" Tim Bierley/Oxfam" data-delta="1" data-fid="10877" data-media-element="1"><br><br><em>Yoal, an Oxfam community health volunteer, teaches the importance of keeping water containers clean in Lankien. Photo: Tim Bierley/Oxfam</em><br><br>Yoal’s home town of Pading is a small cluster of cone shaped huts in Nyirol County in the northeast of South Sudan. It is extremely remote – surrounded by huge stretches of almost completely flat land, compressed into uniformity by the swamps which swell in the rainy season between May and October. The swamps make delivering aid to places like Pading extremely difficult and they also increase the risk of cholera, as the expanding waters soak and mix up everything in their path.</p><p>Soon, rains will thunder down on Pading again. With lives at stake, Oxfam is racing to make sure communities like this one are prepared with the means to fight off another outbreak during the wet season.</p><h3>Oxfam and local leaders respond ahead of the rains</h3><p>Last month, engineers from our mobile emergency response team repaired the town’s two water pumps, so Pading will have clean water this year. Now we’re working with volunteers like Yoal to teach people practical ways to keep disease at bay, as well as handing out ustensils like water buckets, containers for bathing, soap and drinking cups.</p><p>The key to surviving in extremely risky situations like this, Yoal says, is being completely thorough.</p><p>“Sometimes, everyone within the family has to rely on the same containers for lots of different uses,” he says. “You have to be extremely careful about how you use your resources.”</p><p>He explains that <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/push-south-sudan-deadly-civil-war-171214071246774.html" rel="nofollow">as the war has dragged on</a>, people have grown increasingly tired. They have seen friends and family die. It can be hard to persuade people that it’s possible to stop the slide, when it is clear that the country's relentless conflict is forcing people into ever worsening positions.</p><p>“You have to give really practical support like telling people that even if they cannot afford soap for washing, they can use ash. They should boil water if they are drinking it from the swamp. We explain exactly how each thing can affect them.”</p><h3>Family's health is most important</h3><p>Convincing people that change is possible is not still not always easy, but Yoal says there is one thing that unites everyone: “It’s when people see the impact on their children’s health that they are really affected by what I say. Everyone just wants to keep their family safe.”</p><p>Nyawal, who volunteers for Oxfam in Lankien, a town nine hours walk from Pading, knows too well the impact cholera can have on a family. She lost two children to the disease last year. Like so many mothers in South Sudan, she felt that their lives were out of her control.</p><p><img src="https://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/default/files/110583lpr.jpg-nyawal-smile-1240.jpg" alt=" Tim Bierley/Oxfam" title=" Tim Bierley/Oxfam" data-delta="2" data-fid="10878" data-media-element="1"></p><p><em>Nyawal, smiling with one of her children whose health has improved, is an Oxfam volunteer in Lankien helping with water and sanitation work. Photo: Tim Bierley/Oxfam</em><br><br>“I have always kept things clean and done everything I can to look after my family,” she says, but adds that people across the community do not realise the constant level of vigilance needed to prevent the spread of cholera.</p><p>Cholera can spread extremely quickly and through the most innocuous-seeming sources. Nyawal says she always knew that you should wave flies away from your food, for example. It’s instinctive. But she hadn’t seen it as a life and death matter. She doesn’t know what it was that caused her children to fall to cholera, but she wants to make sure her neighbors don’t suffer the same fate.</p><p>“As someone who went through this experience I have to keep telling people to take care of themselves and their children – how to help stop these diseases. We’ve brought tools, including rakes and other types of tools to help people clean up the areas around their houses and we’re telling them how to ensure their food is safe.”</p><h3>Clean water isn't always an option in a warzone</h3><p>Just as it is impossible to keep every fly from infecting food, sometimes the conflict takes health completely out of people’s control. Just outside Lankien, William a village elder explains how fighting in the area forced him and his community to flee deep into the bush, fearing attacks on civilians. The priority was to hide, so it was not possible for people to use functioning boreholes in the area: most were close to the road and therefore considered to be too exposed.</p><p><img src="https://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/default/files/110575lpr-william-1240.jpg" alt=" Tim Bierley/Oxfam" title=" Tim Bierley/Oxfam" data-delta="3" data-fid="10879" data-media-element="1"></p><p><em>William and his family were forced to flee violence and were too afraid to seek out clean water or boil water where they were hiding. Photo: Tim Bierley/Oxfam</em><br><br>“During this time, we had to drink swamp water,” he says. “It was hot and dirty.”</p><p>He and his family could not even treat the water by boiling it, as demonstrated by Oxfam’s health volunteers, for fear that the smoke would give away their position. And almost inevitably disease spread.</p><p>“A lot of us got sick at this time,” says William. “People lost their lives.”</p><p>In a country at conflict, it is extremely hard for communities to eradicate the risk of disease completely. Having access to clean water and the utensils needed to be thorough in hygiene practices makes a huge difference, but even then, war stacks the odds against people and their health. Regular bouts of gunfire force people to prioritise physical safety over health; immediate survival over longevity. The effects of these choiceless decisions are then compounded by the resulting destruction of water sources, of trade, of whole ways of life. People continue to be forced from the homes, their routines, and their means of looking after themselves.</p><p>As long as there is fighting, thousands will continue to suffer from entirely preventable diseases. For now, Oxfam will continue to help people access clean water, maintain their dignity and keep their communities alive. Together, that is something we can at least control.</p><p><em>This entry posted by Tim Bierley, Information &amp; Communications Officer, Oxfam in South Sudan, on 4 April 2018. All photos: Tim Bierley/Oxfam.</em></p><p><em><em><strong>Oxfam and our partners are working across South Sudan to provide life-saving clean water and promote awareness of the key ways in which disease can be stopped from spreading. Oxfam's work described in this article is carried out with the support of Disasters Emergency Committee and European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).&nbsp;<strong>In 2017 we reached over 500,000 people with emergency and longer-term support -- <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/hunger-crisis-south-sudan" rel="nofollow">please help us reach more people</a>.</strong></strong> </em></em></p><p><em><em><strong>Read the blog: <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/18-03-22-peoples-humanitarians-south-sudan-saving-lives-front-line">The people's humanitarians of South Sudan: Saving lives on the front line</a></strong></em></em></p><p><em><em><strong>Read the new report: <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/hungry-peace-exploring-links-between-conflict-and-hunger-south-sudan" rel="nofollow">Hungry for peace: exploring the links between conflict and hunger in South Sudan </a></strong>- recommendations for the international community and warring parties on what they can do to stop the violence, increase access to humanitarian aid and allow the people of South Sudan to recover.</em></em></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>In South Sudan, Oxfam races the rains to save lives</h2></div> Wed, 04 Apr 2018 12:56:47 +0000 Tim Bierley 81467 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-04-04-south-sudan-oxfam-races-rains-save-lives#comments Fighting to keep disease at bay in the Democratic Republic of the Congo http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-04-03-fighting-keep-disease-bay-democratic-republic-congo <div class="field field-name-body"><p>In Kalemie province in southeast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the extreme violence between the Bantu and the Twa ethnic groups and brutal clashes between armed group have very forced more than 654,000 people to flee their homes and thousands of families are facing an increasingly critical food shortage.</p><h3>Conflict continues to drive hunger</h3><p>Women, children and the elderly are among those most affected after having seen families killed, villages burned and fields destroyed. The situation remains volatile and threatens to flare up again at any moment, preventing the displaced from going back to their villages and rebuild their lives.</p><p>Oxfam is supplying drinking water to the people in Kalunga camp. Oxfam also trained 61 women from the camp as hygiene promoters. Their daily work includes cleaning sanitation facilities (toilets and bath areas) in the camp, distributing water purification tablets to families.</p><h3>After overcoming tragedy, Therese is giving back to her new community</h3><p>Therese has been in the Kalunga camp since November 2016. When her village was attacked, she was separated from one of her children and her husband. Therese went looking for them after the attack but couldn't find them, and three months later she was told that their bodies had been found. Therese lives in the Kalunga camp with 9 of her children, ages 7-17 years old. She was trained by Oxfam to be a camp hygiene promoter, and she works daily to clean sanitation facilities in the camp, as well as distributing water purification tablets to families so they have safe water to drink.</p><p>Therese said: ‘’We fled as we were. There was no time to pack anything. You only took your children and ran.’’</p><p>‘’We walked for two days before reaching here. I had so many thoughts in my mind. I had been left with nothing. Sometimes I wish it was me who had died instead of my husband, because this burden is too much for me to bear.’’</p><p>‘’I have nine children remaining. One of them is paralyzed and so I had to carry her all the way.’’</p><p><img alt="Therese, an Oxfam Public Health Promoter cleaning latrines in Kalunga IDP camp, DRC. Photo: Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi/Oxfam" title="Therese, an Oxfam Public Health Promoter cleaning latrines in Kalunga IDP camp, DRC. Photo: Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi/Oxfam" height="828" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/111045lpr-cleaning-therese-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Therese, an Oxfam Public Health Promoter cleaning latrines in Kalunga camp for internally displaced people, DRC. Credit: Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi/Oxfam</em></p><p>‘’We reached here in November last year and were received well. We received food for the first two months as well as some money to help us buy other things from the shops. But how can you bring up 9 children in these conditions?’’</p><p>‘’People have been talking of going back when the fighting ends. Others are even going there to check on their farms or what is left of their possessions.’’</p><p>‘’I have experienced war in my life but never have I been forced to leave my home and live in a (IDP) camp. I have never seen fighting like this.’’</p><p>‘’I never thought I would ever be here. My plan was to save money to build a house where my family could live comfortably and live an ordinary life. But now I can’t even think beyond today. How can I think of a good education for my children if I don’t know where their next meal will come from?’’</p><p><img alt="Women collecting water from a tap stand in Kalunga camp for internally displaced people, Kalemie, Tanganyika, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi/Oxfam" title="Women collecting water from a tap stand in Kalunga camp for internally displaced people, Kalemie, Tanganyika, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi/Oxfam" height="828" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/111032lpr-oxfam-tapstand-drc-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Women collecting water from a tap stand in Kalunga camp for internally displaced people, Kalemie, Tanganyika, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi/Oxfam</em></p><h3>Oxfam and Therese are saving lives</h3><p>Oxfam has been working in Kalemie since February 2017 and has already reached 58,302 people forced from their homes and the communities who have welcomed them. We are helping to provide clean water and sanitation facilities and working with community volunteers to educate people about the importance of good hygiene for staying healthy.</p><p><em>This entry posted by Scheherazade Bouabid, Oxfam Media and Communication Advisor, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on 3 April 2018. </em></p><p><em>Top photo: Therese, an Oxfam Public Health Promoter cleaning latrines in Kalunga IDP camp, DRC. Credit: Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi/Oxfam<br></em></p><h3>What you can do now</h3><p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/countries/democratic-republic-congo" rel="nofollow"><strong>Read more about our work in the Democratic Republic of Congo</strong></a></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Fighting to keep disease at bay in the Democratic Republic of the Congo</h2></div> Tue, 03 Apr 2018 13:41:30 +0000 Guest Blogger 81465 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-04-03-fighting-keep-disease-bay-democratic-republic-congo#comments Stop the war in Yemen http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-03-26-stop-war-yemen <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong><em>It's now been three years of war in Yemen. Meet Ahmed - he is only 14 but has a thousand reasons to end this inhuman war.</em></strong></p><p>In a camp for people forced to flee their homes due to the war in Abs district, Hajjah governorate, Ahmed lives with his younger brother and three sisters. He is only 14 but has a thousand reasons to end this inhuman war. His father was diagnosed with cancer, his house was bombed and his sheep, the family's main source of income, died. Thankfully the family survived and moved out to this camp in Abs.</p><p>The story doesn't end here, even though I wish it did. That would have been considered a happy ending compared to what actually happened. Earlier this year, and after seven months of suffering, Ahmed's father died, leaving his family behind to face poverty alone.</p><h3>Days without food</h3><p>Shortly after his father’s death, Ahmed was awakened by his sisters crying around their mother's body. Ahmed rushed into the room just to realize his mother had died.</p><p>After burying her, they all moved to live with their uncle, who later sent them back to the camp because he couldn't afford to take care of them along with his own large family.</p><p>Ahmed suffers from asthma and works to provide food and clothes for his siblings. He tries to work with any opportunity he can find, people give him whatever they call, sometimes a few dollars, most of the time nothing. His sister also collects firewood that he sells on the market in exchange for food. It happens that they spend days without food.</p><p><img alt="Ahmed and his siblings in Al-Okasha camp for internally displaced people, Abs district, Hajjah governorate. Photo: Ahmed Al-Fadeel/Oxfam" title="Ahmed and his siblings in Al-Okasha camp for internally displaced people, Abs district, Hajjah governorate. Photo: Ahmed Al-Fadeel/Oxfam" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/img_1123-ahmed-and-siblings-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Ahmed and his siblings in Al-Okasha camp for internally displaced people, Abs district, Hajjah governorate. Photo: Ahmed Al-Fadeel/Oxfam</em></p><h3>Famine threatens</h3><p>Famine is threatening eight million people across Yemen, and much of the country’s basic infrastructure has been bombed, including hospitals, schools, water-sources, factories, markets, bridges and ports.</p><p>Civil workers haven't been paid their salaries for over a year now, and the <strong><a href="https://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/yemen-humanitarian-response-plan-january-december-2018-enar" rel="nofollow">UN appeal for Yemen</a></strong> hasn't been fully funded for the third consecutive year, while vital life-saving ports are blocked for more than what people could afford.</p><p>Today in 2018, millions of people in Yemen are neglected and suffering, slowly battling starvation and disease. Our people have been bombed, killed, injured, scared, displaced, starved, blocked, sickened, and denied basic rights for nearly three years now.</p><p>All of this has happened in front of the very nations that promised to protect human rights. It has happened under the watch of the United Nations and, painfully, many international NGOs who are here with us, struggling on a daily basis to provide help, either because we’re denied access to local districts or because of the blockade of Yemen’s vital life-saving ports.</p><h3>Oxfam is there</h3><p>Through Oxfam, we have seen ugly truths that the world is silent about. We have seen death in people's eyes, bodies too hungry to live and malnourished small children suffering from cholera. We don't need to tell you what else we saw, because history is full of examples of war tragedies, some of which are still happening here in Yemen.</p><p>More than 5,500 civilians have died in this war and over 2,000 others have died of cholera, mostly children and the elderly.</p><p>Since July 2015, <strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-yemen" rel="nofollow">Oxfam has reached more than 2.8 million people</a></strong> with humanitarian assistance, with the help of our local partners. Yet over 22 million people are in dire need of immediate humanitarian assistance.</p><p><img alt="A displaced woman in Taiz governorate. Credit: Zeyad Ghanem/Oxfam" title="A displaced woman in Taiz governorate. Credit: Zeyad Ghanem/Oxfam" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/dsc_4420-woman-1240.jpg" /></p><h3>World leaders are silent</h3><p>And still, while the situation keeps on deteriorating, the war is being<strong> <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/38365529/from-egypt-to-saudi-arabia-heres-who-the-uk-is-selling-arms-to" rel="nofollow">fueled by arm sales</a></strong> that kill my people. World leaders silently continue to watch what many call the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and Yemen is facing a world-class humanitarian despair.</p><p>World leaders and the United Nations are failing humanity once again. We are disappointed and so are 29 million other Yemenis.</p><p>I desperately wish to see the war end and no more children to suffer like Ahmed. There are far too many families like Ahmed's.</p><p><img alt="People gather around a water tank provided by Oxfam in Khamir, a district in Amran governorate hosting many internally displaced people. Photo: Kate Wiggans/Oxfam" title="People gather around a water tank provided by Oxfam in Khamir, a district in Amran governorate hosting many internally displaced people. Photo: Kate Wiggans/Oxfam" height="826" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="4" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oxfam-water-delivery-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>People gather around a water tank provided by Oxfam in Khamir, a district in Amran governorate hosting many internally displaced people. Oxfam engineers repaired an existing water network there, which reached 30% of families in the town with running water for the first time in 7 years. Credit: Kate Wiggans/Oxfam, June 2016</em></p><p><em>This entry posted by Ibrahim Yahia Alwazir, Social Media Officer, and Ahmed Al-Fadeel, Field Media Assistant, both Oxfam in Yemen, on 26 March 2018.</em></p><p><em>Top photo: Ahmed and his siblings in Al-Okasha IDP camp, Abs district, Hajjah governorate. Faces blurred to protect the children's identities. <em>Credit: Ahmed Al-Fadeel/Oxfam.</em></em></p><ul><li><strong>Read <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/tags/yemen">more blogs about Yemen</a></strong></li><li><strong></strong><strong>Support <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-yemen">Oxfam's humanitarian work in Yemen</a></strong></li></ul><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Stop the war in Yemen</h2></div> Mon, 26 Mar 2018 10:01:02 +0000 Guest Blogger 81452 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-03-26-stop-war-yemen#comments Why water is such a precious resource in Yemen’s remote villages http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-03-22-water-precious-resource-yemens-remote-villages <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>Yemen has one of the worst problems of water scarcity anywhere in the world. 16 million people lack access to clean water, either because there is no infrastructure or because they can’t afford water trucks. Oxfam water engineer, John Migele, visited one village where people reminded him of why his work is so important.</strong></em></p><p><em><strong>Alowbala Village, Amran</strong></em></p><p>Amran governorate just like other parts of Yemen, is endowed with beautiful landscapes with exceedingly scenic views. But visiting a distant rural community hit with suspicious cases of acute diarrhea disease provides a different and humbling scene, hidden to anyone who might simply walk in and out of the community.</p><p>Alowbala Village (in Al-Qafla district) is situated more than three hours’ drive through a rocky and mountainous road. The homes are spread out but when visitors arrive, the residents come to share a handshake. People are friendly and hardworking.</p><h3>Understanding the challenges</h3><p>We are here to let people know how to help prevent and control of diseases such as cholera. One older man opens up the discussion to talk about the harsh living conditions in the community and hidden struggles they cope with every day to get water and other basic needs. He cites deep poverty, lack of schools in the village and associated high illiteracy levels, occasional internal conflicts (due to differences over land and the few water sources).</p><p>There is no health unit within the village - and the nearest one is 25 kilometers away. The man continues, “We do not have latrines in many of the homes you see, everywhere is rocky and it’s very difficult to have latrines in the mountain.”</p><p>We learn that there is very little awareness of the benefits of the latrines and that the community practices open defecation. A younger man narrates his frustrations, "We have no good water here. When it's dry like now, we have open wells that we dig ourselves in groups to support us and our livestock. The wells are only possible down in the valley and it’s a long journey for many homes back up the mountains.”</p><p><img src="https://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/default/files/_0013-mountain-pass-1240.jpg" alt=" Ameen Al-Ghaberi/Gabreez" title=" Ameen Al-Ghaberi/Gabreez" data-delta="1" data-fid="10849" data-media-element="1"></p><p><em>Women in Al-Dhafer village in Amran governorate return home with water. Credit: Ameen Al-Ghaberi/Gabreez</em></p><h3>The inequality of water access</h3><p>We notice a water reservoir tank and we enquire how they get the water trucking service. In unison, the villagers confirm that this is for the few rich people in the community who call the truck owners whenever they need water to irrigate their qat farms – qat is a water-intensive crop whose leaves are chewed as a mild narcotic – and for drinking. The rich pay USD $15 for every trip.</p><p>Their faces clearly express the feeling that access to clean water is a luxury for the few. One man from the group interjects that people working on the rich families' farms have resorted to begging for clean drinking water.</p><h3>Lack of water causes serious health problems</h3><p>In the process, a mother who recently had her family admitted to hospital arrives, along with her six children. As she settles among the female community members, we then lead a discussion session on hand washing with soap as a key practice to prevent/control both acute diarrhea and cholera. One man was shocked to see the dirty water from his own hands, "We just live with dirt in our hands!"</p><p><img src="https://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/default/files/img-005.jpg" alt=" Riad Alghazali/Oxfam" title=" Riad Alghazali/Oxfam" data-delta="2" data-fid="10850" data-media-element="1"></p><p><em>Community member performs hand-washing demonstration in Amran governorate. Credit: Weam Moghales/Oxfam</em></p><p>In the women’s group, another mother of six explains what she thought caused her and her children to fall sick and be admitted in the hospital, "I went to the valley in the morning to collect water from the open water source for my children, and after three hours at exactly 4pm, after my children drank that water, they came down with acute watery diarrhea and vomiting. First my daughter, then the rest of my family including myself."</p><h3>Making a deeper connection</h3><p>As my team and I wrap up to leave, a senior member of the community stands up with a heartfelt plea on behalf of those who are vulnerable but could not attend the sessions, "Please visit us again to tell our neighbors who did not attend today so they too can get this good message. We will not be able to convey this information correctly as you did."</p><p>We were touched by the deep rapport we had quickly established with these people. A young teenage boy plucked up the courage to approach our team, curious himself to know how to treat water to be safe for drinking and to stop diseases.</p><p>We left with a deeper understanding of the challenges the village residents face but also an admiration of their eagerness to learn new skills that can improve their lives.</p><p><em>The entry posted by John Migele, Public Health Promotion Team Leader in Amran, Oxfam Yemen, on World Water Day, 22 March 2018.</em></p><p><em>Top photo: Women in Al-Dhafer village in Amran governorate carry jerrycans on their heads and climb the mountain to return to their homes. Credit: Ameen Al-Ghaberi/Gabreez<br></em></p><p><em>The UN estimates some 17 million people in Yemen, 60 percent of the population, are suffering from food insecurity and malnutrition, including 8 million now on the brink of famine. At the same time, Yemen is facing the world’s worst ever recorded cholera outbreak, with nearly 1 million cases reported and over 2,200 deaths since the start of the epidemic. Oxfam is delivering essential aid in both the north and south of the country and we have reached 1.5 million people across the frontlines, since July 2015.</em></p><ul><li><strong>Read <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/tags/yemen">more blogs about Yemen</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/tags/yemen"></a></strong><strong>Support <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-yemen" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's humanitarian work in Yemen</a></strong></li></ul><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Why water is such a precious resource in Yemen’s remote villages</h2></div> Thu, 22 Mar 2018 00:36:47 +0000 Guest Blogger 81447 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-03-22-water-precious-resource-yemens-remote-villages#comments Syria: Civilians in urgent need as violence escalates in Ghouta http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-02-23-syria-civilians-urgent-need-violence-escalates-ghouta <div class="field field-name-body"><p>From my desk in Damascus, I can hear the rumbling explosions day and night to the east of the capital. Black smoke billows into the skies over Eastern Ghouta. In Damascus itself, we can hear incoming mortar fire and wonder anxiously where the shells have landed. For people living and working here in Damascus, this is all part of our daily routine.</p><h3>Civilians are under fire</h3><p>Today, TV reports and international <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/eastern-ghouta-syria-siege-civilian-death-toll-high-assad-latest-a8221521.html" rel="nofollow">newspapers</a> are filled yet again with stories depicting the harrowing situation in Eastern Ghouta. I remember when Eastern Ghouta was home to several proud, Syrian industries.&nbsp; Now we are faced with heart-breaking images of civilians caught in the fighting, including mothers and their terrified children. The exact death toll is difficult to estimate, but reports suggest the lives of over 500 civilians in Eastern Ghouta have been lost since 19th February when fighting intensified.</p><p>In Damascus, too, increased mortar attacks have put civilians in the firing line. Over the course of the last week, dozens have been killed, leaving families torn apart.</p><p>As a resident of Damascus, living here is a terrifying experience once again, as it was at the beginning of the conflict. I can hear children crying as they listen to the thunderous shelling and mortars.&nbsp; While east of the capital is most at risk, there have been attacks across the city of Damascus itself.&nbsp;</p><h3>Humanitarian access is urgent</h3><p>People living in Eastern Ghouta have extremely limited access to the basics.&nbsp; Whatever is available is extremely costly - well out of the reach of most families living there.&nbsp; The UN is reporting high levels of child malnutrition and the challenges facing infants, expecting and breastfeeding mothers, and the elderly are especially severe.</p><p>Aid agencies have been allowed virtually no access to Eastern Ghouta, despite the clear need for emergency relief. On 14th February, the first UN convoy since November 2017 was permitted to enter the area with supplies for <a href="https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/AAZ%20Statement%20Nashabieh%20English%2016.2.2018.pdf" rel="nofollow">just over 7,000 people.</a> This amount of aid is a drop in the ocean in this catastrophe, with nearly 300,000 children, women and men in the area in desperate need of food, water and medical supplies.</p><h3>Action is needed</h3><p>Last weekend, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling for a cessation in fighting across Syria, and increased humanitarian aid. Pressure to implement it is mounting. The skies have been slightly quieter lately, and we hope that this can be sustained, and that we can get life-saving aid to those who need it.</p><p>Unbelievably, Eastern Ghouta is one of the so-called ‘de-escalation’ areas agreed by Iran, Russia and Turkey in Astana last May.&nbsp; The agreement commits all sides to a reduction in fighting and unhindered access for aid.</p><p>All signatories of the agreement and all parties to the conflict need to make this a reality.</p><p><em>This entry posted by Moutaz Adham, Oxfam's Country Director, Syria, on 23 February 2018.</em></p><p><em>With no end in sight to the conflict in Syria, hundreds of thousands of people are living in desperate conditions and exposed to continuing violence. Today, half the pre-conflict population of 22 million Syrians have fled their homes and more than 13.5 million people urgently need your help.</em></p><p><em>In Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, we are helping more than 2 million people with life-saving clean water, sanitation, and vital support for families who have lost everything.</em></p><p><strong>Please support <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-syria" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's humanitarian response to the Syria Crisis</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Syria: Civilians in urgent need as violence escalates in Ghouta</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/18-03-02-syrie-escalade-des-violences-dans-la-ghouta-les-populations-civiles-ont-besoin-d%E2%80%99une" title="Syrie : escalade des violences dans la Ghouta, les populations civiles ont besoin d’une aide urgente" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Fri, 23 Feb 2018 15:52:28 +0000 Moutaz Adham 81417 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-02-23-syria-civilians-urgent-need-violence-escalates-ghouta#comments Missing men means shattered lives and transformed roles for women in Nigeria http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-11-01-missing-men-means-shattered-lives-and-transformed-roles-women-nigeria <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Tens of thousands of men and boys have <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-kidnapped-boys-of-boko-haram-1471013062" rel="nofollow">disappeared</a> since the conflict in Northeast Nigeria began eight years ago. Some have been killed or abducted by Boko Haram; others have been detained by the military and never heard from again. Men and boys have become targets to both parties of the conflict.</p><p>The women and children left behind a humanitarian crisis with no protection, little or no support, and greater threat of sexual exploitation and abuse. But their struggle and tenacity for survival in an environment fraught with insecurity never ceases to amaze me.</p><p>“Many women are widows. They have to go to the market to sell small items to feed their family, or beg in the street to survive.”&nbsp; Aisha, 40-years-old displaced woman told us.</p><h3>Horrific violence</h3><p>At the height of the conflict, many women were forced to witness the horrific massacre of their husbands.</p><p>Yasmina, a 48 years-old woman from Gwoza recalls the day when Boko Haram stormed into her village, killing adult men including her husband, leaving her a widow with eight children. “I was at the market when Boko Haram came to my village. I dropped everything and ran to my house, to my husband and children. I found my husband’s body by the door, with his head severed and placed on his back.”</p><p><img alt="A group of women newly arrived in the Muna Garage refugee camp, after escaping previous horrors, await the registration process. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam" title="A group of women newly arrived in the Muna Garage refugee camp, after escaping previous horrors, await the registration process. Photo: Pablo Tosco/OxfamA group of women newly arrived in the Muna Garage refugee camp, after escaping previous horrors, await" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="3" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oes_33980_nigeria-women-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>A group of women newly arrived in the Muna Garage refugee camp, after escaping previous horrors, wait under a tree to be registered.</em></p><p>Yasmina’s experience is not unique in Northeast Nigeria. It is the same story for thousands of women affected by the conflict, who have lost their husbands, and are currently living in camps for displaced people resorting to dangerous activities such as firewood collection to survive, which exposes them to sexual assault.</p><p>Many women have been left behind with children and dependants to look after and many like Yasmina have had to make arduous and risky journeys to get their families to places of safety, in unfamiliar places.</p><p>Thousands of men disappeared in the conflict, and now thousands of women are left alone in camps and settlements where displaced people are seeking refuge.</p><h3>No protection of safety or basic rights</h3><p>The great majority of displaced people in Northeast Nigeria lack food, shelter, education, and healthcare, as well as their basic rights to protection and freedom of movement. But as one displaced man in Maiduguri said, “Young women and children are more affected by the conflict than anyone else, because they have lost husbands and parents, and many can’t find enough food.”</p><p>Men have often played the role of protector and provider of their family, while women used to stay in and take care of the home.&nbsp; As a result of the conflict, however, many displaced women have found their lives changed irrevocably, without the protection and income their male relatives provided.</p><p><img alt="Women wait at the entrance to the Muna Garage camp for displaced people outside of Maiduguri. More than 30,000 people have sought refuge here fleeing the violence of Boko Haram. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam" title="Women wait at the entrance to the Muna Garage camp for displaced people outside of Maiduguri. More than 30,000 people have sought refuge here fleeing the violence of Boko Haram. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="4" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oes_33925_nigeria-women-line.jpg" /></p><p><em>Women wait at the entrance to the Muna Garage camp for displaced people outside of Maiduguri. More than 35,000 people have sought refuge here fleeing the violence of Boko Haram.<strong><br></strong></em></p><h3>Begging for survival</h3><p>Cultural norms before the crisis alongside the current absence of men and viable livelihoods have forced some women and their families to resort to unsafe coping strategies such as begging for survival. Hadiza, a 30-year-old displaced woman, says, “My children have to go to the market and beg. Whatever money they get is what we use to buy food. There is nothing left for anything else. I can’t send my children to school.” She goes on, “I don’t have the money. When I see them sitting at home like that, I think about my husband, because things would be different if he was here. I start crying.”&nbsp;</p><p>Displaced women in Maiduguri stated that street hawking or begging was the activity that put young girls most at risk of sexual violence and exploitation.</p><h3>Resorting to 'survival sex'</h3><p>There is little doubt that the impact on thousands of displaced women is already severe. During Oxfam’s individual interviews and group discussions conducted by my colleagues in different camps around Maiduguri, for example, some women stated that the only way to earn enough money to feed their family is to engage in survival sex in exchange for money or food, or permission to leave their camp in search of a livelihood.</p><p>An aid worker I spoke to, who has witnessed this dreadful reality, stated that some camps for displaced people have become “pools of prostitution.”</p><p><img alt="Hawa (*name changed) was kidnapped by Boko Haram for three months. Before that, they killed her husband in front of her. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam" title="Hawa (*name changed) was kidnapped by Boko Haram for three months. Before that, they killed her husband in front of her. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oes_33955_nigeria-hawa-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Hawa (*name changed to protect identity) was three months kidnapped by Boko Haram. Before that, they killed her husband in front of her. Because she was pregnant, no militia men wanted her as a wife, so they tried to sell her. Days before they succeeded, she fled and reached the displaced persons camp in Muna Garage, near Maidiguri, where she has lived for months. The episode caused an abortion. <br></em></p><h3>Rampant sexual abuse</h3><p>Some women of course are at greater risk of abuse than others. Humanitarian agencies have already identified that women who do not receive regular humanitarian assistance and cannot carry out their previous livelihood activities, are particularly vulnerable to one form of abuse or another.</p><p>In 2016, the protection working group in Nigeria has reported rape, sexual abuse and exploitation in half of twenty-six sites for displaced people in the Northeast.</p><p>Taking into account the traditional under-reporting of sexual violence, it can be assumed that the real prevalence is much higher. In early 2017, <a href="https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/nigeria" rel="nofollow">Human Rights Watch reported</a> that displaced women and girls still suffer “rape and sexual exploitation perpetrated by fellow displaced people, members of vigilante groups, policemen, and soldiers.”</p><h3>Female security staff needed</h3><p>Given such abuse and threats to their safety and security, displaced women call for more female security staff including female police officers, so that they would feel more comfortable to raise concerns with them.</p><p>As Fatima, an 18-year-old displaced woman said: “There are many more women than men here. I’d feel more comfortable around female security people. It’s easier to explain the issues women face to other women.”&nbsp;</p><p>According to our research in Maiduguri, police are among the lease likely group for women or girls to go to if they are assaulted.</p><p><img alt="A group of women in the courtyard of a shelter in Jakana, a community that suffered the attacks of Boko Haram but which is now a refuge for thousands of people who have fled the violence and conflict. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam" title="A group of women in the courtyard of a shelter in Jakana, a community that suffered the attacks of Boko Haram but which is now a refuge for thousands of people who have fled the violence and conflict. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oes_34016_nigeria-women-jakana-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>A group of women in the courtyard of a shelter in Jakana, a community that suffered the attacks of Boko Haram but which is now a refuge for thousands of people who have fled the violence and conflict. Oxfam has built two wells for water supply and promoted a community hygiene committee for the construction of latrines and distribution of kits.</em></p><h3>Missing loved ones</h3><p>Beyond abuse and exploitation, I witnessed many women still suffering the sheer psychological pain of not knowing what has become of their husbands and loved ones. “We miss them, we always talk about them,” says Hadiza, a 40-year-old woman living in an informal camp on the edge of Maiduguri.</p><p>Other women also suffer the memories of knowing all too well, having witnessed their loved ones’ killing with their own eyes.&nbsp;</p><p>Even after three years, Shurima laments the death of her husband and other men in her community: “They are the ones really suffering. They are the ones traumatized facing the threat of death.”</p><p><em>This entry posted by Nafkote Dabi, Oxfam Program Officer, Nigeria, on 1 November 2017. All photos by Pablo Tosco/Oxfam.<br></em></p><p>Oxfam works in Nigeria, Niger and Chad helping refugees and displaced people and the local communities that are hosting them. We distribute food, drinking water and hygiene training. We also work to get governments and donors to act to save millions of lives at risk. Muna Garage, near Maiduguri, is a camp run by the Government with about 35,000 displaced people living there. Oxfam helps with clean water, protection and health promotion.</p><p><em>Top photo: Aisatu with a group of women at the entrance to the displaced camp of Muna Garage outside of Maiduguri. <br></em></p><p><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/search/node/lake%20chad"><strong>Read more blogs on the Lake Chad Crisis</strong></a></p><p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/west-africa-crisis" rel="nofollow"><strong>Donate to Oxfam's humanitarian work in West Africa</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Missing men means shattered lives and transformed roles for women in Nigeria</h2></div> Thu, 16 Nov 2017 09:47:17 +0000 Nafkote Dabi 81293 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-11-01-missing-men-means-shattered-lives-and-transformed-roles-women-nigeria#comments