Oxfam Says Philippines Needs Long Term Aid Programs After Typhoon Haiyan

Australians have been generous in their aid to Oxfam which has helped over half a million people affected by Typhoon Haiyan. However despite that help, nearly three months after the event much remains to be done.

Helen Szoke Chief Executive of Oxfam said that Oxfam was able to deliver emergency relief such as food water and emergency shelter as a result of the generosity of both the Australian public and its government.

“Tyhpoon Haiyan wreaked absolute havoc across much of the central Philippines but I saw first-hand in Cebu and Tacloban the impact that Australian generosity was having. So far, our response teams have provided water and hygiene kits to 20,000 families, protecting more than 100,000 people from the spread of water borne disease, we have installed 2,000 communal temporary toilets to prevent the contamination of water supplies and spread of infectious disease and our teams have been clearing debris to prevent injury and remove breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other pests.” Dr. Szoke said.

More Needs To Be Done

Dr Szoke added that whilst the aid response had a positive impact and managed to save thousands of lives, there needs to be a strong focus on helping the worst hit farmers, fisher-people and traders as part of a long term recovery effort.

Dr. Szoke says people in primary industry have had a long road ahead of them in terms of rebuilding their lives with nearly six million people losing their income source after the devastating typhoon. Many small stores were completely leveled,  crops and coconut trees were destroyed. Three months after the horrific storm many of these people depend on aid and do not know how they will survive in the coming months and years.

According to the latest data the UN has not received any funding to support coconut workers and fisher people. The government of the Philippines has not yet provided the reconstruction and agricultural support it promised.

Australia was one of the biggest aid donors to the Philippines and said it will offer long term assistance. Dr. Szoke says it is crucial that country’s like Australia lobby the Philippines government to deliver on its promise to provide aid to the poorest and worst affected.

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