Oxfam International Blogs - emergency response http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/emergency-response en Yolanda on My Mind: The Odyssey of a Humanitarian Worker http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-11-08-yolanda-my-mind-odyssey-humanitarian-worker <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Humanitarian workers are regularly confronted by difficult choices.</strong></p><p>What humanitarian worker hasn't been stuck in a situation where good intentions are not enough, in the face of bad or worse options? As a frontline emergency responder for almost ten years, I have been in situations where every decision or step I made had no easy answers.</p><p>With Yolanda, globally known as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoon_Haiyan" rel="nofollow">Super Typhoon Haiyan</a>, we had to make the choice of trailing the powerful storm with the belief that people will need life-saving support. In so doing, staff were necessarily thrown in a vast sea of uncertainty. In the affected areas, we had to veritably knock on doors, asking who could offer us a place to stay or lend us vehicles, so that we could reach the hardest hit areas quickly. We had to step forward, then pivot when needed, and then step sideways - always having to trust that doing something is better than doing nothing.</p><h3>Yolanda’s staggering destruction</h3><p>Yolanda swept through eastern provinces of 591 towns and 57 cities in 44 of the country’s 80 provinces. The massive rainfall lasted until the midnight of Friday, and by the following day we flew in three rapid assessment teams to badly hit areas of Eastern Samar, Tacloban City, and, Northern Cebu.</p><p>My team in Davao spent our weekend in the office to monitor the development.&nbsp; Still vexed with what was going on, I came to an international conference in Davao where I was scheduled to deliver a talk.&nbsp;</p><p>Close to about 9 AM, I received a call from the Manila to pick up my plane ticket which would fly me to Cebu around 12 noon, where we established our base of operation, even as we struggled to connect with our assessment teams.</p><p><img alt="Typhoon Haiyan in numbers" title="Typhoon Haiyan in numbers" height="1200" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/haiyan-in-numbers_final.jpg" /></p><p><strong>By Wednesday our response was rolling</strong> in Northern Cebu and Tacloban, but the situation in Eastern Samar was still largely unknown. By the following Saturday, I was asked to fly in to Borongan with a couple of staff of Morong Volunteers Emergency Response Team to scope the impact areas.</p><p>The destruction wrought by the strongest typhoon ever recorded in modern Philippine history has been staggering. In its wake, Yolanda had left at least 6,200 dead, 28,600 injured, 550,900 houses destroyed and 589,400 more were damaged.</p><p>The full monetary value of the impact of Yolanda range from USD13 to 14.5 billion. The estimated damage to agriculture was at $225 million.</p><p>From my perspective, this figure appears to be a small fraction of the actual losses but what was clear was that poorest villages bore the heaviest brunt.</p><p>Within the next three weeks, our global humanitarian team were fully set up.&nbsp; I went back to my post in Davao with all the harrowing experiences of the dead and missing, of devastated lives and livelihoods which will haunt me for years.</p><p><img alt="Oxfam response to Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)" title="Oxfam response to Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)" height="1200" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oxfam-response-1200x1200.jpg" /></p><h3>Transitioning from emergency- to long-term recovery responses</h3><p>About a year and a half after Yolanda hit, I was asked to manage the transition of our emergency response to long term recovery. At that time, only a tiny fraction of displaced families has been relocated to permanent shelters on safer grounds.&nbsp;</p><p>Minimum liveability standards – e.g., safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, affordable electricity services, proximity to health and education services and livelihood opportunities – still seemed to be beyond reach.</p><p>Displaced families were still uncertain over when and where they would be moved, as they have lived the lives of beneficiaries rather than stakeholders in finding lasting solutions.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Their perspectives were not represented</strong> in decision making processes that affected their lives in a profound sense. This, while they endured individual and community living which was marked by increasing insecurity and instability, with less access to income-generating opportunities, disrupted schooling and mobility, minimal protection from the elements, and minimal privacy and practical necessities for one’s bodily integrity, including sexual and reproductive health and well-being.</p><p>Indeed, the sheer scale of devastation brought about by Yolanda would challenge any government. With its complexities, Yolanda also forced aid agencies like Oxfam to confront the question that has animated the aid sector for a long time, which is, whether or not there is such a thing as ‘natural’ disasters.&nbsp; For sure there are unnatural events which could greatly challenge the ability of even some of the strongest countries.&nbsp;</p><p>What is clear is that disasters become inevitable if preparedness is lacking.</p><p><img alt="Typhoon Haiyan - rebulding homes" title="Typhoon Haiyan - rebulding homes" height="1084" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="3" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/sharequote-1-final.jpg" /></p><h3>Building local leadership and capabilities</h3><p>The list of things to do on preparedness, which Oxfam has now been investing in heavily, include building local capabilities – of local governments and local NGOS – to mount a speedy and sizeable response.</p><p>Fully capable local humanitarian actors will ensure that the emergency response will be ‘as local as possible and only as international as necessary’.</p><p>It will also help keep international organisations like Oxfam stay focused on reinforcing and not replacing local systems, where we can deploy our expertise on compliance to humanitarian standards.</p><p><strong>Yolanda also forced us to <a href="https://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/blog/2013/12/after-haiyan-crucial-steps-in-the-path-to-recovery" rel="nofollow">re-think</a></strong><a href="https://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/blog/2013/12/after-haiyan-crucial-steps-in-the-path-to-recovery" rel="nofollow"> some of our strategies</a> on development programming which could potentially shrink our humanitarian footprint.</p><p>Top of this is a rational land use planning system which will move vital infrastructures, economic investments, and vulnerable communities away from geo-hazard areas.</p><p>To this I add that investing in sophisticated early warning system which could stretch the lead time for civil and military apparatuses to be able to kick off their contingency plans.</p><p><img alt="Typhoon Haiyan - preserving people&#039;s dignity" title="Typhoon Haiyan - preserving people&#039;s dignity" height="1093" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="4" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/sharequote-2-final.jpg" /></p><h3>The role of the private sector</h3><p>Incentivising the entry of private sector into insurance markets should a matter of public policy priority so that losses could be mitigated when a discrete event like Yolanda becomes inevitable.&nbsp;</p><p>An increase on insurance coverage/penetration is inversely correlated with public spending for rehabilitation and recovery or reduces the tax burden on the people.</p><p>Damage to school buildings, public market, rural health clinics, bus terminals and similar infrastructural investments meant that recovering losses require painful tradeoffs in terms of what other basic services would have to be foregone such as primary health, education, and similar investments in development.</p><p>For private sector in particular, business continuity planning needs to be part of its operations to minimise disruptions which discrete events invariably entail which oftentimes reverberate into the rural economies.</p><h3>Are we ready for the next one?</h3><p>Steps such as land use planning, early warning system, risk transfers, and business continuity planning are what falls into the cracks between the highly compartmentalised zones of humanitarian and development discourses, where you have emergency preparedness and response on one hand and macroeconomics (e.g., fiscal stability, employment, and, inflation) on the other.</p><p>Today, as we celebrate the fifth anniversary of Yolanda, it is necessary to confront the difficult question: are we ready for the next one?</p><p><em>This entry posted on 8 November 2018, by Dante Dalabajan, Senior Manager of Oxfam in the Philippines where he manages a team of advisors and specialists on humanitarian and development programming, campaigning, and aid response.</em></p><p><em>Top photo: Scene from Oxfam Assessment Team while surveying the impact of Typhoon Haiyan, just days after it hit in Samar, Philippines. Credit: Jire Carreon/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>Read more<br></strong></p><p><strong><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/tags/philippines">Blogs about Oxfam in the Philippines</a><br></strong></p><p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies" rel="nofollow"><strong>More on Oxfam's humanitarian work</strong></a></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Yolanda on My Mind: The Odyssey of a Humanitarian Worker</h2></div> Thu, 08 Nov 2018 14:12:38 +0000 Guest Blogger 81774 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-11-08-yolanda-my-mind-odyssey-humanitarian-worker#comments Why aid delivery isn’t instant — and ways it could be faster http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-11-20-why-aid-delivery-isnt-instant-ways-it-could-be-faster <div class="field field-name-body"><p>When our rapid assessment teams came back from Leyte and Eastern Samar, they came from a total information blackout into a storm of angry and combative debate on the efficiency of government response to supertyphoon Haiyan victims. A couple of my colleagues marveled at how negative the atmosphere was and admittedly, the debate has gotten pretty exhausting and polarizing. Everywhere I go, whether it’s a dinner, a team meeting, an email exchange or social media, the conversations run along the same questions. <em>Why is government response so slow? With so many donations pouring in, why are people still saying they aren’t being served? Where are our donations going to if we’re still not moving fast enough? Why should we give it to the government when they are moving so slowly?</em></p> <p>It’s interesting to be in the position I find myself in, working for a humanitarian agency and having relationships with government and other aid agencies, while at the same time being as involved in the public’s reaction as you inevitably find yourself in when you’re using social media. Early on in the week, when I could tell that the general feeling towards this response to Haiyan was going to get very heated, I made the conscious decision to step back and not get involved in these debates. But there is a lot of context in what’s happening now that I feel is not explained comprehensively enough to understand why we’re not moving as quickly as we should.</p> <p>A few days ago, I was asked to be on the panel of BBC World Have Your Say (BBC Why) on the <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01l36kb" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Analysis of an Aid Mission</strong></a> with representatives from some of the larger aid agencies all around the world. In spite of it being at 2AM in the morning, it was an interesting conversation because it was a rehash that a lot of the problems we’re currently encountering were also experienced in a few of the larger disasters in recent years. The Haiti Earthquake and Hurricane Katrina are two such disasters frequently mentioned in line with Supertyphoon Haiyan, and from the aid workers on the panel, there was a sense of “well, we’re not learning from our mistakes if the same situations keep happening!”</p> <h3>The big picture</h3> <p>So to take a step back, I’m going to take a look at <strong>what hinders aid delivery in the context of supertyphoon Haiyan</strong>. Once again, a caveat; this is not meant to be the end all and be all on this topic, only meant to give you a better picture of what humanitarian workers experience on the ground when we’re struggling to give aid at the quickest possible time. Some of them are quite difficult but they aren’t, by all means, insurmountable obstacles that can’t be prepared for or remedied.</p> <p>Just to review the situation (bear with me if I get a couple of details wrong), Haiyan hit Visayas region on November 8. Tacloban was one of the first areas to get media coverage and the photos and videos of the devastation were amazing, in the worst sense of the word. As it swept through Visayas, images from other areas started trickling in, from Eastern Samar to Northern Cebu to Northern Iloilo. There was a pretty validated sense that people’s belongings were next to zero and for the next couple of days, people were scrambling to get food and water for their families by any means possible. Local government units were either non-functioning or too severely short-handed to cope with the immense needs of entire populations. There was a sense of being taken aback by the scale of Haiyan. Infrastructure was down, including roads and bridges, power, communications, airport and ports (and in fact, only just improving). Markets were washed away or wiped clean. Government and aid agencies started coming in around Sunday onwards by C-130 and choppers but even aid through that was hampered by people inundating air transport with requests to leave the area or for aid. (When recounted, I have to step back and wonder if this is embellished or factual. Sadly, from people who were on the ground… it’s not.)</p> <h3>So why is delivery of aid not as quick as it should be?</h3> <p>Here are some key things that affect it:</p> <h3>Scale</h3> <p>One reason why Haiyan is capturing the attention of the world is the incredible and unprecedented scale of this disaster. The winds, radius and strength of the storm was literally unlike anything ever seen in the world. I know firsthand from my vantage point an island over how early warning came in, which enabled a number of areas to prepare for the supertyphoon. Preemptive evacuations were called, standby funds and relief were prepositioned and classes/work were cancelled in advance. But measures which have worked well for other instances, were insufficient for Haiyan. Communities talked about how they just had never experienced a storm so big, that the sea came to swallow them. They were warned against storm surges, but no one thought that the waves would be so high, they would reach up to 16ft and higher. Though I would prefer that you prepare for the very worst, the question is, how do prepare for it when you can’t even imagine what the worst is?</p> <p>In the last few years, the Philippines has been sorely tested by intense typhoons. We’re at the point that we’re constantly readjusting the scale, from the Ketsana rains that poured a month’s worth of rain in the span of a day, monsoon rains that are now flooding cities for months out of a year and typhoon Bopha, which was the storm of the century… at least until Haiyan happened. Bopha, which was considered, the worst storm, was just the little brother of Haiyan. Lessons learned for Bopha and other storms, which would have prepared us for Haiyan, needed to be enhanced a lot more to contend with the scale of that supertyphoon.</p> <h3>Government Capacity</h3> <p>I won’t go into a lot of detail about government capacity because a lot has been said about it already. But to be brief, government capacity deals with both national and local government. The way disaster management has been set up in the Philippines is that it’s been largely decentralized to the local governments with the national government supplementing local capacity. Local government is considered to be the first responder and carries a major chunk of the role in disaster management.</p> <p>So what happens now when a supertyphoon of the scale of Haiyan completely overwhelms entire municipalities and cities, including the local government? You lose your first round of defense. In Tacloban, they talk about the police force being cut down from the hundreds to the tens. Not only have actual offices been damaged or destroyed, but the people themselves are missing or worse, dead. The ones who are still alive are also concerned for families and homes that have been completely damaged. Sure, I do believe that there are government offices and roles that should operate 24/7 during an emergency but there is the very humane concern that these people have families as well. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be put in the position these officials find themselves in because I wouldn’t know what I would do. Moving outside the human resources, the actual resources of the local governments also seem to have been damaged or destroyed (or in some cases, even looted). Equipment is missing, information isn’t accessible. In many areas, the bare minimum of what is needed to respond is not there.</p> <p>When that happens, the national government is expected to step in. Once again, I won’t be sharing my (very) strong opinions on that but just to put it in the Philippine context, let’s talk not just about scale, but also frequency of disasters. In the latter quarter of the year, we were hit in quick succession by the Zamboanga crisis on September 9, Tropical Storm Santi went through Northern Luzon in the first week of October, the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol woke citizens up from a holiday on October 15 and then Supertyphoon Haiyan blasted Visayas region on November 8. The first three emergencies may have faded into the background because of Haiyan but Zamboanga continues to struggle with prolonged displacements in the thousands with houses and streets damaged by the armed conflict, TS Santi inflicted billions in agricultural damages and Bohol has still not completely gotten back on its feet and continues to feel the aftershocks. The national calamity fund, by the time Bohol earthquake rolled around, was definitely taxed and would have been wiped out by a much smaller disaster. These emergencies may have faded into the background of the public’s consciousness but continue to need resources as recovery needs to be supplemented by national capacity.</p> <h3>Infrastructure</h3> <p>Infrastructure involves roads, bridges and highways; power; communications; airports and ports, etc, and the affected population is not just dependent on that, but responding agencies as well. Unless you have prepositioned stocks inside affected areas that are undamaged and ready to be distributed, aid will not be instantly given the day of the disaster. And as evidenced by Haiyan-affected areas, local government units did not have that. When it comes to giving aid, infrastructure plays a large role in speed and timeliness of delivery.</p> <p><strong>This is what we look at as soon as a big disaster hits:</strong></p> <ul><li>Do we have access? How do we get in?</li> <li>Are there airports? When will it start functioning? Is it completely damaged?</li> <li>If the airport is completely damaged, where is the next nearest airport? How do you cross from there to the nearest area?</li> <li>Are ports open? When will ports start functioning? What sort of seacraft can be accommodated by these ports?</li> <li>If there are absolutely no airports or ports, can choppers land? Where can they land? Is the visibility and weather okay for choppers to land anywhere?</li> <li>Are roads and bridges damaged? What kind of vehicles can pass through?</li> <li>If there are accessible roads, is there fuel available for vehicles?</li> <li>Is there flooding? Landslides? Flashfloods?</li> </ul><p>These are just questions on access. When compounded with other obstacles to infrastructure, imagining asking these questions but interspersing it once in a while with any of these:</p> <ul><li>Are telecommunications functioning in the areas? Are there landlines?</li> <li>Do we have access to baseline information? How many families are there? Do we know how many have been affected?</li> <li>Is there electricity? What does it mean if there’s none?</li> </ul><p>And then there’s the element of not just figuring out if you can just do assessments, meaning sending quick and lean teams to analyze the need for a response, but if you need to possibly start responding as well. If the need is as large as caused by Haiyan, then you’re not just thinking about access for a small team of people but people + aid. Then you have to search for ways to get cargo and bulk items in, which is a whole different story from getting a few people in. For every question you have to answer, there’s an added question of:</p> <ul><li>How much can a plane carry?</li> <li>If airports are damaged or runway lights are down, how much can a chopper carry?</li> <li>If there is very little visibility or choppers can’t land, how much can a boat carry? How fast can a boat get there?</li> <li>Once inside an area, can you even truck aid?</li> </ul><p>Dealing with infrastructure problems is a constant weighing of options that looks very much like this:</p> <p><strong>time x resources x efficiency x priority</strong></p> <p>What do I mean? For example, as in the case of Haiyan, with no commercial flights coming in and out of the area, you have to ask if chartering private choppers is a good option. It’s fast and can get you into the areas (all you need is a flat plain or piece of land) but it is very expensive. Some would argue that the cost of chartering a private chopper is wasting more money that could be spent on aid. But when there is no one able to access the areas immediately after, sometimes it’s worth going in just to get an accurate sense of what’s happening. But in rushing to get in as fast as you possible, you end up forgoing being able to bring enough aid with you. Private charters or choppers as quick and fast but can only carry so much.</p> <h3>Resources</h3> <p>Every emergency and every aid agency, though they coordinate or collaborate with each other, inevitably will find itself competing with each other for the same pot of resources. I’ve talked about the Philippines being hit by a series of emergencies with the fund largely being the national calamity fund. But that’s not even talking about the pot of resources the world has. I’ve felt in the last few big disasters that there is always a shortage of funds. Big ones, like Haiyan, will have a huge influx of donations and aid but will end up trickling as the world gets to the end of its available pot of resources. In the last few years, big emergencies have not realized the full amount needed to completely support disaster-affected areas (i.e. <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/syria" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Syria</strong> </a>and Bopha).</p> <p>It’s also not just a question of competing in the same pot, since this isn’t really what’s happening right now for Haiyan and the world being so generous. It’s also about the kind of donations that have been coming in. Donations are flowing for food and for clothing, but they aren’t necessarily the best things to be donated. Immediately following a disaster, when access is difficult and a little extra has to paid for access and relief delivery, then money is the best option (and agencies might not necessarily have this available). Food packs and clothing will be assembled wherever a big part of the population are, but they aren’t necessarily in disaster-affected areas. Relief packs can end up accumulating but will still need money for logistics in order to deliver this quickly to disaster-affected areas.</p> <h3>Security</h3> <p>Security is a huge issue in Haiyan for areas like Tacloban. For any humanitarian agency, there’s always that wariness of sending teams into insecure areas for many reasons. Humanitarian agencies aren’t necessarily the best people to deal with the situation (not having expertise dealing with a certain group or not having the right security measures in place, for example) and most likely have a mandate not to deal with armed groups, as an impartial or neutral organization. And of course, there’s also the reluctance to send teams into a situation where there is a possibility that your people could be harmed.</p> <p>With reports populating the media like choppers being mobbed by hundreds of looters or that armed groups are wandering the areas, agencies are understandably wary about putting their staff in that position. Aid workers are minimal compared to the actual affected population and if placed in that kind of position, would be at risk. But more importantly, given the current problems with access and the limitations with how much can be brought in, humanitarian agencies also don’t want to put the affected populations in harmful situations. For example, only being able to bring in food packs for 100 families, when there are a thousand hungry ones  who will do everything they can to get the first food they’ve had in days might create a terrible situation for the affected. Instead of helping the people who are in need, you might actually be adding to their insecurity.</p> <h3>Information</h3> <p>I read an extremely interesting and informative article on Time magazine the other day entitled “<a href="http://ideas.time.com/2013/11/14/stop-catastrophizing-relief-efforts-in-the-philippines/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Stop Catastrophizing Relief Efforts in the Philippines</strong></a>” Information can be tied up with security that in the sense that when communication systems are minimal, we do rely on news and media to give us ideas of what’s happening on the ground. When there are cases of looting or armed groups, then that will put pause in plans to ensure that distributions or any kind of relief delivery has a contingency plan for any kind of possible situation.</p> <p>Information or the lack of, also causes obstacles to aid delivery. For example, the kind of blanket devastation in Haiyan tells you that you need to give to everyone but you also need to how many families that are affected to give everyone sufficient aid. Without knowing how many people to give to and then hearing about looting makes it more difficult to be able to deliver relief right away. You’d want to ensure that you have a complete set for everyone to minimize security risks.</p> <p>So with that laundry list of obstacles to aid delivery, what can be done to make it faster?</p> <ul><li><strong>Coordination is key.</strong> When resources are tight, you look to other agencies to fill in where your gaps start. This involves knowing who the other agencies are on the ground and having the sort of relationship to work together instead of duplicating aid.</li> </ul><ul><li><strong>Identifying and working with local capacity.</strong> The Philippines has a very robust civil society, with a thousands of legitimate NGOs working with great capacity. And with the number of disasters we’ve been hit with, a lot of those NGOs are already working in disaster management. Local partners have the information, the networks, the capacity and the people; in short, they’ve laid down the groundwork for a humanitarian agency coming from outside to just supplement.</li> </ul><ul><li><strong>An efficient information management system.</strong> The Philippines really needs to move on towards making the information system open and comprehensive. Being able to have baseline data or secondary data available and prepared in such a way that it doesn’t disappear during a disaster helps improve coordination and planning from hour zero of the disaster.</li> </ul><ul><li><strong>A backup calamity fund.</strong> I think here in country, we have to get used to the idea that we are losing a huge amount of money on disaster response yearly. By the end of the year, I can safely bet that we will continue to drain this until it ends. When this happens, what is our alternative? Here in the Philippines, we have the Philippine Survival Fund, which is meant to allocate a billion pesos towards helping communities adapt to climate change. Unfortunately, though this law has passed, it hasn’t been operationalized, meaning that fund and that kind of preparedness by focusing on climate change adaptation isn’t happening.</li> </ul><ul><li><strong>Get used to the new normal</strong>. We have to stop being surprised at how big disasters are getting in the Philippines. We are in every top 5 list of disaster-prone countries and countries most likely to suffer the most from climate change. All these researches done by credible research institutions say the same thing a person from a rural community without access to technology and information can tell you, that the weather is changing in more and more severe ways. By getting used to this, it means we start focusing on shoring up our defenses against disasters and making sure houses in the coast don’t blow away, that we have strong and equipped standby evacuation centers, that we get used to the worst case scenario and have a contingency plan for it.</li> </ul><ul><li><strong>Preparedness</strong>. And of course, this, the most important recommendation in my book. Preparedness doesn’t just come for preemptive evacuations and early warnings, but has a wide menu of options that can be done to prepare an area for a disaster. For example, we talked about how local capacity was overwhelmed; then identify the next line of defense that can come in to support you when your local capacity is exhausted (for example, Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office taking over in Leyte for the meantime). Or if you can identify that infrastructures are down, put in place alternatives to be able to bring aid in, like standby airports, aircraft or seacraft (the U.S.S. ship/airport is amazing), warehouses, etc. Or the ultimate in disaster risk reduction, like the Cebu island that evacuated every single person from the island to ensure zero casualties. Investing more on what should be done before several disasters will mean less expense responding to the impacts of just one.</li> </ul><p>Originally published on <a href="http://theabsterabbi.com/2013/11/19/why-aid-delivery-isnt-instant-and-ways-it-could-be-faster/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Abbi's blog</strong></a></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>Oxfam's response and how to donate: </strong><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/philippines-typhoon-haiyan" rel="nofollow">Philippines Typhoon Haiyan</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/13-11-19-learning-lessons-philippines">Learning the lessons of humanitarian response in the Philippines</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Why aid delivery isn’t instant — and ways it could be faster</h2></div> Wed, 20 Nov 2013 18:09:45 +0000 Abbi Luz 10517 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-11-20-why-aid-delivery-isnt-instant-ways-it-could-be-faster#comments De nombreuses vies perdues en Syrie http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/10353 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong><em>Par Camilla Jelbart Mosse, responsable de campagne humanitaire pour Oxfam.</em></strong></p> <h3>Alors que les dirigeants des pays du G8 se sont réunis hier soir pour parler de la Syrie, l’enjeu de ces discussions est plus que jamais crucial pour les personnes prisonnières de ce conflit.</h3> <p>« Ma famille a perdu sa maison ainsi que de nombreux êtres chers. Pendant plusieurs jours, nous n'avons pu nous procurer ni eau ni pain, à cause de l'insécurité et avons dû fuir la Syrie. Nous voulons juste rentrer chez nous. »</p> <p>J'entends encore raisonner dans ma tête les voix des réfugiés que j'ai récemment rencontrés en Jordanie et c'est cela qui m'a poussé à <strong>demander aux dirigeants du G8</strong>, réunis aujourd'hui en Irlande du Nord, <strong>d’agir en faveur de la Syrie</strong>.</p> <p>La crise en Syrie est devenue la priorité numéro un dans l'agenda du G8. À la stupéfaction générale, <strong><a href="http://www.rfi.fr/moyen-orient/20130613-syrie-victimes-onu-rapport-civils" target="_blank" title="RFI - Plus de 93 000 morts en Syrie depuis le début du conflit selon l'ONU" rel="nofollow">93 000 personnes ont d'ores et déjà été tuées</a></strong> et plus de <strong>huit millions d'hommes, de femmes et d'enfants ont besoin d'assistance</strong>, aussi bien en Syrie que dans les pays voisins où ils se sont réfugiés.</p> <p>Hier matin, Oxfam a accueilli les dirigeants du G8 avec <strong><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfam/sets/72157634176815486/" target="_blank" title="Lives lost in Syria - Flickr (Oxfam)" rel="nofollow">un parterre de pierres tombales et de roses blanches</a></strong> afin de commémorer les vies perdues jusqu'à présent dans le conflit.</p> <p>Alors que les dirigeants du G8 se retrouvaient hier soir autour d’une table pour discuter de la situation en Syrie, l’enjeu est plus que jamais crucial pour les personnes prisonnières du conflit.</p> <p>Nous devons voir les dirigeants à l'œuvre afin de garantir que l'aide vitale atteigne les personnes qui en ont le plus besoin.  Les dirigeants du G8 doivent user de leur influence collective pour trouver une solution politique à la crise et doivent cesser d'alimenter le conflit en armes, ce qui ne fait que jeter de l'huile sur le feu.</p> <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/blogs.oxfam.org/files/sharegraphic-syria-draft04-FR.png" target="_blank"></a> <h3>Négociations de paix</h3> <p>En mai dernier, la proposition conjointe des États-Unis et de la Russie de mettre en place des pourparlers de paix a suscité une petite lueur d'espoir dans le paysage diplomatique. Mais on a depuis pu constater de multiples reports et de profondes divisions au sein de la communauté internationale, tandis que le débat public préalable au sommet du G8 s’est davantage focalisé sur les options militaires qui exposeraient les civils à de graves dangers.</p> <p>Lors de nos discussions avec les représentants de médias venus en Irlande du Nord couvrir le sommet, de nombreux journalistes nous ont posé la question suivante : « Pensez-vous que les dirigeants du G8 sont capables de surmonter leurs différences pour prendre des mesures concrètes » ? Dans le cas de la Syrie, la réponse est claire (bien que loin d'être simple) : <strong>ils n'ont pas le choix</strong>.</p> <p>Nous avons désespérément besoin qu'ils affichent leur unité et que Poutine et Obama conviennent d'un plan concret exposant comment ils feront des négociations de paix de Genève une réalité, avec le soutien actif des autres dirigeants.</p> <p>Sans mesures significatives, les conséquences pour l'instabilité régionale et pour les personnes prises au piège de la crise humanitaire croissante pourraient être catastrophiques.  </p> <h3>Les voix des Syriens</h3> <p>Les informations de ces derniers jours montrent que les voix et opinions de la population syrienne se sont noyées dans les discussions politiques entre les États.</p> <p>Ce n'est pas aux dirigeants du G8 (ni à Oxfam) de déterminer à quoi devra ressembler le futur de la Syrie, mais les dirigeants doivent faire tout ce qui est en leur pouvoir pour garantir qu'un solide processus est en place et finalement permettre aux citoyens et citoyennes de prendre des décisions démocratiques.</p> <p>Évidemment, il reste encore beaucoup de chemin à parcourir, mais cela doit commencer par l'amorce de négociations inclusives garantissant la participation de toutes les parties impliquées dans le conflit ainsi que la <strong>représentation des voix non militaires de la société civile</strong>, notamment des réfugiés et des groupes de femmes.</p> <p>Étant donné que les dirigeants du G8 choisissent quels leviers diplomatiques actionner, j'espère seulement qu'ils nous permettront de trouver une solution pour que les réfugiés, avec qui Oxfam travaille en Jordanie et au Liban, regagnent enfin leur domicile.</p> <h3>En savoir plus</h3> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/fr/emergencies/crise-en-syrie" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>L'action d'Oxfam face à la crise en Syrie</strong></a></p> <p><strong>Photos : <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/fr/syrie/vivre-avec-conflit-syrie-photos" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Vivre avec le conflit en Syrie</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Faire un don pour <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/fr/urgence-syrie" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">soutenir notre action</a> auprès de la population syrienne</strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>De nombreuses vies perdues en Syrie</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/13-06-18-vidas-perdidas-en-siria" title="Vidas perdidas en Siria" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_en last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-06-17-syria-lives-lost" title="Lives lost in Syria" class="translation-link" xml:lang="en">English</a></li> </ul> Tue, 18 Jun 2013 11:11:51 +0000 Keith Mc Manus 10353 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/10353#comments Lives lost in Syria http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-06-17-syria-lives-lost <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>Written by Camilla Jelbart Mosse, Oxfam's Humanitarian Campaign Manager</strong></em></p> As G8 leaders meet on Syria, the stakes couldn’t be higher for those caught in the crossfire. <p>“My family lost our home and many loved ones. We’d go for days without being able to raise our heads to buy water and bread as it wasn’t safe, so we had to leave Syria. We just want to go home.”</p> <p>It is with the voices of refugees I’ve recently met in Jordan ringing in my ears that I’ve come to <strong>demand action on Syria from the G8 leaders</strong> gathering in Northern Ireland today.</p> <p>The Syria crisis has shot right to the top of the G8 agenda. A staggering <strong><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22886730" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">93,000 people</a> have already been killed</strong> and more than <strong>8 million men, women and children are in need of aid</strong> – both inside Syria and living as refugees in neighbouring countries.</p> <p>Oxfam greeted the arrival of the G8 leaders this morning with <strong><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfam/sets/72157634176815486/" rel="nofollow">a visual display of gravestones and white roses</a></strong> to commemorate the lives lost so far in the conflict.</p> <p>As G8 leaders take to their dinner table to discuss the situation tonight, the stakes couldn’t be higher for people caught in the crossfire.</p> <p>We need to see leaders working to ensure that life-saving aid reaches those who need it most.  G8 leaders must throw their collective weight behind a political solution to the crisis - and not send more weapons into the conflict which would only add fuel to the fire.</p> Peace talks " alt="93,000 lives lost in Syria" /&gt; <p>The US and Russia’s announcement of proposed peace talks back in May provided a small glimmer of hope on the diplomatic horizon; but we have seen delays and deep divisions within the international community, as public debate ahead of the G8 has shifted to focus on military options which could pose huge risks to civilians.  </p> <p>Speaking to members of the press corp that have flown into Northern Ireland to cover this summit, many journalists have asked “do you think the G8 leaders can overcome their differences to achieve anything concrete?” The answer on Syria – while far from simple – is clear: <strong>they have to.</strong></p> <p>We desperately need to see a display of unity and a concrete plan from Putin and Obama on how they are going to make the Geneva peace talks a reality, with the full vocal support of the other leaders.</p> <p>Without significant steps forward, the consequences for regional instability and the people caught up in the escalating humanitarian crisis could be catastrophic.  </p> Voices of Syrians <p>Watching the news over the last few days, it’s obvious that the voices and views of Syrian people have been lost amid the big picture politics that is playing out between states.</p> <p>It is not for G8 leaders – or Oxfam, for that matter – to determine what the future of Syria should look like; but leaders must do everything they can to ensure that a robust process is put in place that will eventually allow ordinary people to make democratic decisions.</p> <p>There is of course a long way to go, but a clear first step must involve inclusive negotiations which ensure participation from all sides to the conflict as well as representation of non-military civil society voices including refugees and women’s groups.</p> <p>As the G8 leaders choose which diplomatic levers to pull, I can only hope that they take us one step closer to a solution which allows the refugees with whom Oxfam is working in Jordan and Lebanon to finally go home.</p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/syria" rel="nofollow"></a><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/syria" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's humanitarian response to the Syria Crisis</a></strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/syria-crisis/life-conflict-zone-photos" rel="nofollow"><strong>Photos: Life in Syria's conflict zone</strong></a></p> <p>Oxfam Media Briefing, G8 2013: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/oxfam-g8-media-briefing-17jun2013.pdf" rel="nofollow">Shining the light on secrets that keep people poor</a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Lives lost in Syria</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/13-06-18-vidas-perdidas-en-siria" title="Vidas perdidas en Siria" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/13-06-18-nombreuses-vies-perdues-syrie" title="De nombreuses vies perdues en Syrie" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Mon, 17 Jun 2013 16:19:23 +0000 Keith Mc Manus 10352 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-06-17-syria-lives-lost#comments Haití: Tres aniversarios del terremoto; tres momentos de la reconstrucción http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/10193 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>No puedo creer que ya hayan pasado tres años desde el terremoto que sacudió Haití en enero de 2010. </strong>Yo no estaba en Haití le 12 (expresión local para referirse al día del terremoto) y no pude ver con mis propios ojos la magnitud ni del caos ni de la solidaridad de las personas. Llegué meses más tarde, cuando se suponía que el proceso de reconstrucción debía comenzar, una vez los equipos de rescate y de emergencia hubieran hecho su trabajo<strong>.</strong></p> <h3><strong>12 de enero de 2011</strong><strong></strong></h3> <p><strong>Pasé el primer aniversario del terremoto en las escaleras de la catedral, destruida, en el centro de Puerto Príncipe. </strong>En medio de la crisis política, los haitianos dejaron de quemar llantas para demandar que su voto fuera tenido en cuenta, y todo el mundo se reunió delante de este símbolo de desesperación, vestidos de blanco y gritando de dolor. Fue tan sobrecogedor... No estaba preparada para las preguntas.</p> <p><strong>Mucha gente se acercó a mí, por ser extranjera, para preguntarme por qué la comunidad internacional no estaba ayudando a reconstruir casas para las víctimas y frenar la epidemia de cólera</strong>. Hice lo que pude para explicarles que la magnitud del desastre había pillado a todo el mundo por sorpresa y que establecer asentamientos temporales, es decir, campamentos, era una tarea complicada y pesada.</p> <p>Les dije que, gracias a los esfuerzos de las ONG, había menos víctimas del cólera en los campamentos, pero mi voz se perdió entre el fervoroso clamor religioso. ¿Qué podía decir? ¿Cómo podía justificar el punto muerto en el que se encontraba Haití? Sin tierras, sin Gobierno... <strong>No tenía palabras para consolar a las personas que sufrían a mi alrededor.</strong></p> <h3>12 de enero de 2012</h3> <p></p> <p><strong>El año pasado fui al cementerio de Puerto Príncipe para celebrar el segundo aniversario del terremoto. </strong>Ahí conocí a algunos de los trabajadoresdel cementerio que durante los días siguientes al terremoto tuvieron que enterrar a miles de personas. Sus historias me produjeron escalofríos. Junto a la escultura en conmemoración del terremoto conocí a un poeta y a un pintor que me explicaron como su arte les había ayudado a superar el trauma. Aún tenían esperanza.</p> <p><strong>Durante el año anterior se habían eliminado muchos escombros. El nuevo presidente había prometido emprender acciones en aquello que más importaba, la educación de los niños y niñas de Haití. Las ONG habían comenzado a reparar casas e incluso a construir algunas nuevas. </strong></p> <p>Durante la Navidad, el campamento frente a mi oficina había sido desocupado gracias a un programa de reubicación del Gobierno haitiano, dirigido por organizaciones internacionales. Había estado involucrada en el programa y me sentía orgullosa.</p> <p>Fue difícil dar estos pequeños primeros pasos mientras allanábamos el camino para incrementar nuestros esfuerzos y lograr una mayor reubicación y reconstrucción.</p> <h3>12 de enero de 2013</h3> <p><strong>Aún no he decidido dónde pasar el aniversario del terremoto. Quiero ir a algún lugar significativo, donde me sienta parte de la comunidad haitiana.</strong></p> <p>He pensado en ir a la barriada de Villa Rosa, donde participé en un proyecto de varias ONG, que terminó el pasado junio y a través del cual se construyeron 600 casas.<strong>No quiero unirme al coro de críticas que afirman que los grandes propietarios de tierras nunca nos ayudarán a reconstruir el país, que el Gobierno no hace su trabajo y que 358.000 personas aún viven en campamentos. Puede que tengan razón, pero yo quiero celebrar los éxitos logrados este año.</strong></p> <p>Hemos encontrado formas de involucrar a la comunidad en la planificación, reconstrucción y gestión de los barrios, y hemos contribuido a lograr que el Gobierno vea las barriadas pobres como un reto y no como una amenaza. También hemos trabajado duro para convencer a los donantes de que nos permitan replicar estos primeros proyectos piloto.</p> <p><strong>Hace tres años la tarea parecía gigantesca pero, poco a poco, lo estamos logrando. Eso es lo que quiero recordar este 12 de enero.</strong></p> <p><em>Agathe Nougaret es una experta en planificación urbana francesa. Vive y trabaja en Haití desde diciembre de 2010. En agosto de 2012 se unió al equipo de Oxfam como coordinadora de planificación urbana.</em></p> <h3>Más información</h3> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/emergencies/haiti-terremoto" rel="nofollow">Terremoto en Haití 2010</a><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/haitiquake" title="Haiti earthquake 2010 - Oxfam" rel="nofollow"></a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Haití: Tres aniversarios del terremoto; tres momentos de la reconstrucción</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_en first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-01-10-haiti-three-earthquake-commemorations-three-steps-reconstruction" title="Haiti: Three earthquake commemorations, three steps in reconstruction" class="translation-link" xml:lang="en">English</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/13-01-11-haiti-trois-commemorations-du-seisme-trois-etapes-de-la-reconstruction" title="Haïti : trois commémorations du séisme, trois étapes de la reconstruction" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 14:51:30 +0000 Agathe Nougaret 10193 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/10193#comments Haiti: Three earthquake commemorations, three steps in reconstruction http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-01-10-haiti-three-earthquake-commemorations-three-steps-reconstruction <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>I can’t believe it’s been 3 years already since the earthquake hit in January 2010.</strong> I wasn’t in Haiti for “le 12” (“the 12th” a local term to refer to the earthquake), I didn’t witness the mayhem and great solidarity with my own eyes. I arrived months after, when the reconstruction process was supposed to kick-off, once rescue teams and emergency settlement professionals had done their job.</p> <h3>January, 12th, 2011</h3> <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/blogs.oxfam.org/files/destroyed-cathedral.jpg"></a> Cathédrale Notre-Dame de L’Assomption after the earthquake 2010. Photo: Yolanda Romero/Oxfam <p><strong>I spent the first anniversary of the earthquake on the steps of the destroyed Cathedral</strong>, in downtown Port-au-Prince. In the middle of a political crisis, Haitians had stopped burning tires to ask for their vote to be accounted for. Everyone gathered in front of this symbol of despair, dressed in white, screaming his or her pain. I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t prepare for the questions.</p> <p>As a foreigner, many people came to me to ask why the international community was not rebuilding homes for the victims and stopping the cholera outbreak. I did my best to explain that the scale of the disaster took everyone aback, and setting up temporary settlements, camps in other words, was a complicated and tedious task. “There are less cholera victims in camps than anywhere else thanks to NGO efforts,” I said, but my voice got lost in the fervent religious clamour. What could I say, how could I justify the stalemate Haiti experienced? No available land, no government... I didn’t have words of comfort for the people suffering around me.</p> <h3>January 12th, 2012</h3> <p><strong>Last year, I went to the Port-au-Prince cemetery</strong> for the 2nd anniversary of the earthquake. There I met cemetery employees who had to deal with thousands of bodies days after the earthquake. Their stories sent shivers down my spine. Next to the 01/12 memorial sculpture newly built in the cemetery, I met a poet and a painter who explained to me how art helped them to cope with the trauma. They were hopeful, though. So much <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12135850" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>rubble</strong></a> had been <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfam/4341184506/in/set-72157623349912154" rel="nofollow"><strong>cleared</strong></a> in the past year. The new President promised to take action for what really matters, education of Haitian kids. NGOs were starting to repair homes and even build permanent houses.</p> <p>Over the Christmas holiday, the camp in front of my office had been cleared by the Haitian Government through a relocation program run by international agencies. I was personally involved in this great movement, and I was proud.</p> <p>These first little steps were the hardest to take, as we were paving the way for an important scale-up in relocation and reconstruction efforts.</p> <h3>January 12th, 2013</h3> <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/blogs.oxfam.org/files/haiti-repaired.JPG"></a> "Repaired." Photo: Oxfam <p><strong>I haven’t decided where I’ll spend the anniversary yet.</strong> I want to be somewhere significant, where I feel part of the Haitian community. I think I’ll choose the Villa Rosa slum, where I completed a NGO project last June, repairing and building 600 permanent homes. I don’t want to join the choir of critics who state that big land-owners will never help us rebuild the country, that the Government doesn’t have the means to do its job, that 358,000 people <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2013-01-10/fragile-progress-haiti-three-years-more-needs-be-done" rel="nofollow"><strong>still live in camps</strong></a>.</p> <p>They might be right, but I want to celebrate our successes, this year. We have found ways to involve the community in planning, rebuilding and managing their neighborhoods, and we’ve helped the Government to see slums as a challenge, not as a threat.</p> <p>We’re working hard to convince donors to let us replicate this first set of pilot projects. The task was so daunting three years ago, but slowly, we’re getting there.</p> <p>That’s what I want to remember on January 12th.</p> <p><em>Agathe Nougaret is a French Urban Planner. She’s been living and working in Haiti since December 2010. She joined Oxfam as an Urban Coordinator in August 2012.</em></p> <h3>Related links</h3> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/haitiquake" title="Haiti earthquake 2010 - Oxfam" rel="nofollow"></a><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/haitiquake" title="Haiti earthquake 2010 - Oxfam" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's response to Haiti earthquake 2010</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Haiti: Three earthquake commemorations, three steps in reconstruction</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/13-01-10-haiti-tres-aniversarios-del-terremoto-tres-momentos-de-la-reconstruccion" title="Haití: Tres aniversarios del terremoto; tres momentos de la reconstrucción" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/13-01-11-haiti-trois-commemorations-du-seisme-trois-etapes-de-la-reconstruction" title="Haïti : trois commémorations du séisme, trois étapes de la reconstruction" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 10:03:41 +0000 Agathe Nougaret 10192 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-01-10-haiti-three-earthquake-commemorations-three-steps-reconstruction#comments We need to break Africa's hunger cycle http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-08-13-we-need-break-africas-hunger-cycle <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Harne Waddaye, a 60-year-old grandmother, digs for food in the bare earth outside the small village of Louga in the African country of <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/video/2012/west-and-central-africa-food-crisis-chad" target="_blank" title=" Chad" rel="nofollow">Chad</a>.</strong> She is not digging for wild roots or for ones she has planted. She is raiding ant nests for the grain they have stored. The few grains she is able to gather will go along with the leaves from trees her daughter collects to feed her four children and six grand children. It is a meagre fare. </p> <p>She is one of the 18 million people at risk of a severe hunger across a band of Africa that stretches thousands of miles from Senegal in the west to Chad in the very centre of the continent - a distance equivalent to the journey from San Francisco to New York.</p> <p><strong>This year has been a bad year </strong>with little rain. The year before last was also bad year and five years ago similarly bad. But even in good years women like Harne resort to raiding ant nests to feed their families during the ‘hungry season’ when food is short. This exceptional act is the norm for many in this part of Africa. </p> <p>In a world where there is more than enough food to feed everyone we have to ask ourselves why we allow this to happen and more importantly what we need to do to end it. </p> <p>The world knows what to do in the short term to save lives and what to do in the long term to secure people’s livelihoods. The tragedy is that it fails to do it. </p> <h3>Acting early to save lives and money</h3> <p><strong>For the short term we need to act quicker</strong> on the warning signs. A report by Oxfam and Save the Children on last year’s East African food crisis showed that <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/dangerous-delay" target="_blank" title=" The cost of late response to early warnings in the 2011 drought in the Horn of Africa" rel="nofollow">thousands of lives were lost due to the slow response</a></strong> to that catastrophe. Acting early to save lives makes moral sense but it also makes economic sense. During the 2004-5 food crisis in Niger the UN's humanitarian chief, Jan Egeland, pointed out that when the warning signs began it cost $1 per day to save a child from malnutrition but when the crisis was in full swing it cost $80 a day. Given that there is rightly such political concern that we get the most from every aid dollar spent it is perverse that politicians are so reluctant to act sooner. </p> <p><strong>A swift response is necessary but not enough.</strong> We need better leadership and coordination but there are deeper issues to tackle as well. For too long emergency aid has been coloured by the interests of the donors. We need to base our aid on the level of need not television exposure or foreign policy interests. Aid has also been far too much driven by giving people things that we have at hand. This is very much the case in some of the supply driven food aid. As humanitarians we need to listen to people more and work with them to come up with aid that is geared to their needs. </p> <h3>Food prices and social safety nets</h3> <p><strong>In the long term we need to break the hunger cycle</strong> so that women like Harne no longer rely on raiding ants nests. We will not be able to make it rain but we can help people build their own ability to withstand crises and look after their families without needing help from outside. In the aid world we call this resilience, but essentially all it comes down to is building a strong society and economy. </p> <p><strong>For the Sahel region this means dealing with problem of volatile <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/issues/food-price-spikes" target="_blank" title="The GROW campaign - Food price spikes" rel="nofollow">food prices</a></strong>. In many markets food is available but due to high prices it is out of reach of poor people. Developing food reserves in vulnerable regions will not only get food rapidly to where it is needed it will also help governments in those areas step in to bring down prices before a crisis develops. </p> <p><strong>Added to action on food prices we also need to help the most vulnerable</strong> through programmes which provide social safety nets. These guarantee a level of income to those in dire need. Giving people money instead of food or goods it a hand up not a hand out, it gives them the ability to choose what they need and puts them in the driving seat. </p> <p><strong>Finally there needs to be much more investment in producing food</strong> and moving away from a focus on the export of cash crops. Investing in <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/issues/small-scale-farming" target="_blank" title="Support for small-scale farming" rel="nofollow">small scale food producers</a></strong> not only increases the amount of food available it also builds the income of the producers themselves. Back in 2003 all African governments agreed to investing 10 per cent of their budgets on agriculture, very few have ever achieved this. </p> <p><strong>The big challenge though is politics.</strong> Politicians may be battered by events but essentially they choose whether or not to tackle the scourge of global hunger. The choice is theirs. David Cameron’s <strong><a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/12/2012-hunger-summit-legacy-games" target="_blank" title=" The 2012 hunger summit could be the real legacy of the Games" rel="nofollow">nutrition summit</a></strong> is a welcome sign that hunger may be moving up the political agenda. Next year’s G8, chaired by the UK, is a real opportunity to act. </p> <p></p> <h3>Related links</h3> <p><strong>Act Now, <a href="http://www.sahel2012.org/" target="_blank" title="Sahel 2012 - Help stop the food crisis in West and Central Africa" rel="nofollow">sign the our Sahel2102 action</a> and help end the food crisis in Sahel</strong></p> <p><strong>Oxfam's response to the <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/sahel-food-crisis" target="_blank" title="Food Crisis in Sahel" rel="nofollow">Sahel food crisis</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Join the <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/grow" rel="nofollow">GROW Campaign</a></strong>, to fix the broken global food system, and ensure we all have enough to eat, always</p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>We need to break Africa&#039;s hunger cycle</h2></div> Mon, 13 Aug 2012 10:13:17 +0000 Barbara Stocking 9937 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-08-13-we-need-break-africas-hunger-cycle#comments Somali NGOs response to the food crisis: a true beacon http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/11-10-04-somali-ngos-response-food-crisis-true-beacon <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>This past weekend in Nairobi I was privileged to meet Guhad Muhammad Adan, an impressive, young Kenyan-Somali with a real determination to tackle some of the key issues facing the Somali people.</strong> Over the best part of two hours, Guhad outlined the work of Somali NGO Social-Life and Agricultural Development Organisation (SADO), as it responds to the tragic humanitarian situation gripping his country.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blog/11-09-26-ground-mogadishu-more-needs-be-done" title=" More needs to be done">Somalia is at the epicentre</a></strong> of the East Africa food crisis. It’s estimated that some four million Somalis are affected – struggling to find enough food and water in a country plagued by armed conflict and without an effective government. Most of the people affected are in the south of Somalia. Nearly two million people have moved, seeking sustenance and security either elsewhere in the country or across the <strong><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blog/11-09-12-two-weeks-love-hope-dadaab" title=" Two weeks of love and hope in Dadaab, Kenya">borders in Kenya</a></strong> or <strong><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blog/11-09-16-between-rock-and-hard-place-somalian-refugees-ethiopia" title=" Between a rock and a hard place">Ethiopia</a></strong>.</p> <h3>Trust and confidence in the community</h3> <p>But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any effective non-government groups helping keep people alive, providing the basic essentials for life. SADO is one example. Formed in 1994, it’s clearly got deep roots in Somali society and has the trust and confidence of both the people in need, and those who help shape their country as a whole.</p> <p><strong>Oxfam has supported SADO since 2004 with a focus on developing its capacity to help the communities it works with.</strong> This long-term investment in SADO has clearly paid off, as it and other Somali NGOs respond to the crisis afflicting their country. As Guhan, a program officer at SADO, explains: “The only effective NGOs were those who had had capacity building.”</p> <h3>The priority: saving lives</h3> <p>As this year’s food crisis unfolded, SADO shifted gear from its longer term work to immediate response. As with all humanitarian work, the focus is on saving lives. It’s working in southern Somalia in close coordination with other NGOs. Deeply embedded in the local communities, it is prioritising getting food, water and sanitation to people in need.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/east-africa-food-crisis/cash-work-kenya-latrines-dadaab" target="_blank" title=" Building latrines at Dadaab camp" rel="nofollow">Cash transfers</a> are the key method of tackling the crisis.</strong> Getting cash into people’s hands gives them some control over their situation, and helps to stimulate the local economy. The cash transfers are backed up the distribution of water purification tablets, basic hygiene kits that include soap, jerry cans and water basins, as well as blankets and mosquito nets. SADO has also led the building of latrines and have run hygiene awareness campaigns.</p> <p>Given the highly volatile and precarious situation in southern Somalia, SADO’s work is a true beacon that demonstrates the importance of local ownership of humanitarian responses.</p> <h3>When the rain will come</h3> <p>The much needed rain is due in the next fortnight. There’s a fear that it may not come – or that too much may come and floods will follow. SADO, with the support of Oxfam, is gearing up, fired by the hope that enough – but not too much – rain will come and that crop planting may happen. Seeds and tools will become essential, but even if crops can be planted soon, the harvest won’t be until next year.</p> <p><strong>This crisis is far from over.</strong> The need for peace, and for a greater global humanitarian response, will remain. Guhan, his colleagues and the communities they’re working with deserve nothing less.</p> <p></p> <p><strong>Read more about <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/east-africa-food-crisis" rel="nofollow">Oxfam’s response to the East Africa food crisis</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Somali NGOs response to the food crisis: a true beacon</h2></div> Tue, 04 Oct 2011 14:01:15 +0000 Andrew Hewett 9598 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/11-10-04-somali-ngos-response-food-crisis-true-beacon#comments Pakistan floods: one year of Oxfam's response http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/11-07-28-pakistan-floods-one-year-oxfam-response <div class="field field-name-body"><p>A year since Pakistan was hit by devastating floods, Oxfam's emergency response has provided support to over 2.4 million people. We've compiled a snapshot of some of our work over the last 12 months - take a look at a selection of our videos, stories and photos by clicking on the features below.</p> <p></p> &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="<a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2011-07-26/one-year-pakistan-still-unprepared-monsoon-floods">http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2011-07-26/one-year-pakis...</a>" data-mce-href="<a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2011-07-26/one-year-pakistan-still-unprepared-monsoon-floods">http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2011-07-26/one-year-pakis...</a>"&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;Pakistan floods: one year on&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;<p></p> <p>Over the past year Oxfam has reached over 2.4 million people with water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, tent and cash grants. Yet the humanitarian needs remain high and Pakistan is still not prepared for this year’s monsoon floods. </p> <h3>Read more</h3> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/pakistan-floods-2010#donate" target="_blank" title="Oxfam is still responding to the humanitarian needs due to the Pakistan floods. With your assistance we can continue to help people. Please donate now" rel="nofollow">Donate to Oxfam's response in Pakistan</a></strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/pakistan-floods-2010%20" target="_blank" title="Oxfam's response to Pakistan floods" rel="nofollow"><strong>Pakistan Floods 2010 </strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Pakistan floods: one year of Oxfam&#039;s response</h2></div> Thu, 28 Jul 2011 09:53:48 +0000 Anonymous 9545 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/11-07-28-pakistan-floods-one-year-oxfam-response#comments With 17 guests, one Haitian family reflects the struggles of many in the months since the quake http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/10-07-05-17-guests-one-haitian-family-reflects-struggles-many-months-quake <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>In the town of Saint Michel, the Perards have opened their doors to a stream of relatives and friends who fled the destroyed capital. Coco McCabe visited one of the families sharing their home with their relatives.</em></p> <p>Swallowed in the stuffing of a big yellow chair, Jenny, 7, and Sarah, 8, sit side by side, their faces somber, their feet dangling. Matching red bows bob in their hair. They could be sisters. And in a way they are, though blood is not what binds them. A shared sorrow does: Each lost a mother in the January earthquake that crippled Haiti and left 230,000 people dead.</p> <p>Like hundreds of thousands of other survivors, <strong>they fled the ruins of Port-au-Prince to seek shelter in the countryside, squeezing in with family and friends and relying on them for support in the weeks – and now months – after the disaster.</strong></p> <p>It’s early May, and the girls are among the 17 relatives and friends Jean Claude and Rose Marie Perard are hosting in their house in Saint Michel, a four-drive from the capital. The household numbered nine before the quake. Now, 26 people – many of them children – crowd the Perards’ small dark rooms and courtyard.</p> <p></p> <p><strong>“Day by day we cope,”</strong> says Rose Marie Perard.</p> <p>It’s a refrain repeated across the rugged provinces as Haitians, living in the poorest country in the western hemisphere, open their doors and share what little they have.</p> <p>But here, on a sweltering afternoon in the main room of the Perards’ house, the strain for some of the family members is beginning to show and the target is NGOs, the non-governmental organizations that offered a patchwork of basic services – education, health care, agricultural support – before the quake and have now ramped up, with billions of dollars at their disposal, to help meet the needs of some of the three million people affected by the disaster. Some locals charge that the NGOs have long been in Haiti to help themselves more than they are to help the Haitians – and they question whether there are lasting benefits to the projects aid groups launch.</p> <p><strong>Oxfam’s goal is to make a durable difference</strong>, one that leaves people with the skills and knowledge to ensure their own growth and success, and that means a long-term commitment that empowers communities to meet their own needs.</p> <h3>Two meals a day</h3> <p>In the long hot months ahead it’s up to the mother, Rose Marie, to manage the crowded household on a budget stretched by borrowing and pleading with friends for help. Rose Marie collects a small monthly salary from the ministry of public health for which she works five days a week as a technologist in a lab. Her husband serves as the municipal director for Saint Michel, an appointed post.</p> <p><strong>Having jobs puts the couple in the minority</strong> among Haitians who, by some calculations, face unemployment rates as high as 70 percent. But with 26 mouths to feed and a crowd of children to help educate, the Perards’ salaries don’t stretch far.</p> <p>“I buy food on credit and whenever money comes in, I pay it all back,” says Rose Marie, adding the household eats just two meals a day. And when night comes, everyone stretches out wherever there is room: some in the beds, some on the floors.</p> <h3>The rice is gone</h3> <p><strong>A sudden downpour hammers the metal roof of a small mill in Verrettes</strong>, a few hour’s drive from Saint Michel. The rain drowns the voices of 13 men and women sitting in the hot gloom, but their raised hands tell the story: all but one of them has been supporting  people from Port-au-Prince and the rice, and all the other seeds, the farmers had hoped to plant have gone, instead, to feed the newcomers. Rony Charles has four of his wife’s relatives staying him; Pierre Riguens had five, now four – sisters and a cousin; Simadieu Descombes is hosting seven.</p> <p>With planting season upon them – and no seeds to sow – the farmers are hoping they can get access to some microcredit to tide them over. <strong>Raising agricultural production levels is the first thing people in his community need</strong>, says Charles. And creating jobs for the newcomers is also near the top of the list.</p> <h3>Looking ahead</h3> <p>While some people appear to be returning to the capital, Anouce Myrtil predicts that plenty of others will find it easier living in the countryside.</p> <p><strong>“Even if Port-au-Prince had golden streets,</strong> no one’s going to live easy in Port-au-Prince because of fear,” he says, sitting on the site of a new sugarcane mill Oxfam is helping to build in the community of Lacedras, near Saint Michel. It’s part of a range of <strong>small-scale initiatives designed to support economic development and improve agricultural output in the region</strong> – objectives that are more important than ever as Haiti struggles to overcome the devastation caused by the earthquake and rebuild itself on a stronger foundation. In a country where <strong>agriculture employs two-thirds of the workforce yet produces only 28 percent of its gross domestic product</strong>, modernizing farm work and expanding production opportunities will be crucial for Haiti’s reconstruction.</p> <h3>Read more</h3> <p><a href="http://bit.ly/oxfam-haiti-map" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Map of Oxfam's response in Haiti</strong></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/haiti-earthquake" rel="nofollow"><strong>More about Oxfam's Haiti response</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>With 17 guests, one Haitian family reflects the struggles of many in the months since the quake</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blog/10-07-05-una-familia-con-17-huespedes-la-lucha-por-sobrevivir-continua-haiti" title="Una familia con 17 huéspedes, la lucha por sobrevivir continúa en Haití" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blog/10-07-05-une-famille-17-personnes-sous-son-toit-haitiens-luttent-encore-mois-apres-seisme" title="Une famille et 17 personnes sous son toit : les haïtiens luttent encore des mois après le séisme" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Mon, 05 Jul 2010 14:01:29 +0000 Coco McCabe 9162 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/10-07-05-17-guests-one-haitian-family-reflects-struggles-many-months-quake#comments