Oxfam Canada

Oxfam Canada

November 12, 2013 13:19 ET

Oxfam Racing Against Time to Save Lives in Communities Devastated by Typhoon Haiyan

Affected people have "nothing to go back to" after worst natural disaster in years hits Philippines

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 12, 2013) - Oxfam teams expert in water and sanitation have been deployed to the worst affected of the Philippines to provide immediate relief to 20,000 people in need. The aid organization is appealing for $16 million to eventually reach at least half a million people with clean water, hygiene kits and direct cash support.

Ann Witteveen, Humanitarian Manager for Oxfam Canada, said:

"The most urgent needs are clean water, sanitation, medical care, food and shelter. Despite the best efforts of the Philippine government to prepare for such an emergency the ferocity of the typhoon, one of the most powerful ever recorded, was simply unprecedented. The situation on the ground is incredibly challenging but Oxfam is working around-the-clock with local organizations and in coordination with the UN and other NGO's to save as many lives as possible."

New reports from the team on the ground in Tacloban, one of the hardest hit areas, indicate that one hundred percent of the city has been devastated and the people are without water or electricity. Affected people are taking desperate measures to access water, and looting has been reported because of the lack of food and basic medical needs.

One mother with two small children, who works selling fish with her fisherman husband, told Oxfam it was like a Tsunami when the storm hit: "Many storms have passed here. But we did not expect a storm that brought a 'tsunami' with it. We only know of rain and wind. We did not expect the sea would devour the land."

She has received a food pack containing 3 kilos of rice, sardines and corned beef. She expects to use this up within two days. "We have nothing to go back to. We can't fish. It's dark and there are dead bodies floating in the sea," she said.

Current estimates are that 11.4 million people from 36 provinces have been affected and over 10,000 people are thought to have lost their lives.

"The best way Canadians can help the people of the Philippines at this time is to give money to a reputable organization that will ensure immediate needs are met in the most efficient and effective way possible," said Ann. "We welcome the Government of Canada's commitment to match individual donations up to December 9, 2013, and encourage Canadians get their donations in as soon as possible."

Donations can be made at www.oxfam.ca or www.together.ca.

Oxfam has launched an urgent appeal to help the people of the Philippines as part of the Humanitarian Coalition - a joint appeal mechanism comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children.

With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs.

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