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The ability to communicate during and after a disaster is a life-and-death matter. And few disasters better exemplify this need than Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017.
Hurricane Irma struck on Sept. 6 and left more than a million people without power while weakening Puerto Rico's already fragile infrastructure. Then on Sept. 20, Hurricane Maria — a Category 4 storm — destroyed the islands' infrastructure. It left nearly the entire population without power and knocked out Puerto Rico's communications networks. Between 3,000–5,000 people died, making Maria one of the deadliest disasters in U.S. history. And the inability of Puerto Ricans to make calls or access life-saving information contributed to the death toll.
The failure of the islands' communications infrastructure was a major factor in the death toll. This report's goal is to call attention to the critical need to examine and investigate all of the causes for the collapse of the communications networks -- and to ensure a crisis like this isn't repeated.
Large-scale and complex emergencies often occur in countries where government institutions have weak coping capacity. They may struggle to deliver essential services routinely, even in non-emergency situations. This has serious implications for the way in which emergency water, sanitation and hygiene services are managed long-term and in the transition from emergency to post-emergency situations.
UNHCR and Oxfam commissioned a study to understand more about how emergency WASH services are delivered, and to identify how the provision of infrastructure can lead to sustainable service delivery and a more professional management mechanism. As many humanitarian crises are protracted in nature, emergency WASH services need to be sustained once humanitarian agencies depart. This report aims to review and identify alternative service delivery options, and to provide some pragmatic guidance that can be incorporated into emergency response programmes and tested, evaluated and built on in the future.
Every year, disasters and humanitarian crises affect millions of people globally. This report analyzes disaster-related funding in 2016 from foundations, bilateral and multilateral donors, the U.S. federal government, corporations, and smaller donors who gave through donor-advised funds and online platforms.
Rockefeller Archive Center;
This project examines the development of American humanitarianism in the era of the world wars. It explores how, in the absence of state power, private citizens often filled the void. Their activities expand the common definition of diplomacy by noting myriad ways private organizations and individuals, including the Rockefeller Foundation and its partners, attempted to influence the direction of American foreign relations. The primary argument here is to demonstrate that American citizens, who grew frustrated at the lack of government involvement in world affairs during the first-half of the twentieth century, sought to insert themselves into positions of power and influence. This project shows that, in the absence of the state, many American individuals and NGOs formed partnerships and coordinated their humanitarian activities on a global scale. In specific ways, they undertook the roles and strategies of foreign policy professionals: stationing professionals in foreign offices, raising and appropriating large sums of money, providing food and medicine, coordinating the mass migration of refugees, and negotiating with foreign governments. By doing so, they acted as "shadow diplomats" – working as a shadow government in opposition to the recognized state authority, but also working in the shadows, away from most public attention and scrutiny, because they reasoned that quiet actions would produce the desired results.
On 1 August 2018, the Ministry of Health in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared a new Ebola epidemic in Beni territory, North Kivu. It was the first time that Ebola had struck in an area of chronic insecurity and humanitarian crisis. A large-scale response to the outbreak, including health workers on the ground, volunteers in communities, and those working to coordinate the response, has had a clear impact on the spread of the virus. The challenge for DRC and its international partners is not only to rapidly control the deadly Ebola, but to do so in a way that contributes to protecting communities in this vulnerable environment.
In the next phase of the response, there is a need to rebuild trust and engagement with communities, alongside the essential medical response. A stronger and more independent role for NGOs would also better support scale-up and reinforce quality. These briefings track some of the issues faced by the response to the outbreak: the complexity of the context, the role of communities, and new directions for the response.
Briefing 1: DRC: The world's first Ebola outbreak inside a conflict
Briefing 2: Strengthening the Ebola Response in Beni, DRC by Putting Communities at the Centre
Briefing 3: Crucial Course Corrections for the Ebola Response in Beni, DRC
The Saudi and UAE-led Coalition has intensified its assault towards Hudaydah's city and port, with devastating consequences for civilians. If fighting continues and the main roads out of the city are blocked, hundreds of thousands of people could be trapped in Hudaydah without access to adequate food, water and medical care. All sides in the conflict are causing harm to civilians -- for example, airstrikes are damaging water infrastructure, which has undermined water supplies to about 58,000 families.
This urgent briefing adds new evidence -- from Oxfam's interviews with civilians on the ground -- to the warnings that the UN and others have already made. There must be an immediate cessation of all fighting, and a turn towards an inclusive peace process, engaging Yemen's women, youth and civil society.
Environmental and Energy Study Institute;
Every year, natural disasters inflict damages costing hundreds of billions of dollars globally – and the cost is rising. Climate change creates a more volatile weather system in which hurricanes, storm surge, wildfires, and other climate-related disasters are becoming more frequent and intense. The National Centers for Environmental Information, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), records the number of natural disasters that cause at least a billion dollars in losses in the United States – 'billion-dollar' disasters. In 2017, there were 16 'billion-dollar' disasters with losses totaling more than $300 billion, a record high. These extraordinary losses, although unprecedented, were not entirely unexpected. The frequency of 'billion-dollar' disasters (adjusted for inflation) has been increasing since the 1980s. Between 1980 and 2012, there were on average 5.3 'billion-dollar' disasters per year in the United States. In the last five years, 2013-2017, the average was 11.6 such disasters per year.
In 2017, Elrha's Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) launched a Challenge 'to understand how to design, implement, and evaluate approaches to user-centred sanitation that incorporate rapid community engagement and are appropriate for the first stage of rapid-onset emergencies' (defined as the first twelve weeks post crisis). A component of this Challenge involved undertaking a landscape review of existing community engagement practice and approaches that could be used to provide a background resource for Challenge participants. The review was carried out by Oxfam, the HIF's Research and Evaluation Partner for the project. It draws on published and grey literature and interviews with 15 key informants.
Action Against Hunger;
Since August 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar for camps in the Cox';s Bazar district of Bangladesh. The research for this report was conducted to identify the needs, vulnerabilities, risks and concerns of Rohingya refugee and host community women, girls, men and boys in Cox';s Bazar, as well as the skills and opportunities on which they can build. The analysis shows various gaps in the humanitarian response for both communities, especially in terms of accountability, communication with affected communities and disaster preparedness, but also in equitable access to services, in particular for women and girls, and especially for the Rohingya community. The report presents a range of recommendations for agencies responding to the crisis, including on water, sanitation and hygiene; menstrual hygiene management; food security and nutrition; livelihoods; gender-based violence; community and household power structures; women';s and girls'; leadership; unpaid care work; coping strategies; and community cohesion, among others.
The research was led by Oxfam in partnership with Action Against Hunger and Save the Children, and produced with analysis, comments and recommendations from CARE, UNHCR, the Inter Sector Coordination Group and UN Women.
Digital technologies are radically transforming the ways in which aid agencies can interact with the communities with whom they work. Oxfam believes that information communication technologies (ICTs) offer a huge opportunity to amplify and improve effectiveness across the organization’s work. From monitoring water points to delivering electronic vouchers through mobile phones and digitalizing protection surveys, Oxfam has been harnessing the use of ICTs to enhance the quality, accessibility and efficiency of its programming. Yet, the path from experimentation to widespread adoption and organizational support for new tools and technologies can be a challenging one, often opening up a range of concerns and opportunities.
This article looks at the example of beneficiary information management and the introduction of World Vision’s Last Mile Mobile Solutions (LMMS) digital registration and distribution management platform. It explores the application of Oxfam’s ‘innovation pyramid’ to take the introduction of new tools from ‘systems of innovation’ to ‘systems of differentiation’ and subsequently to ';systems of record’.
This baseline survey and report examine the Durable Peace Programme (DPP) in Myanmar, which delivers a broad range of activities. The report provides an insight into the current situation facing both internally displaced persons (IDPs) and conflict-affected non-IDP communities in Kachin state, Myanmar. It is based on a comprehensive and systematic research process involving just over 2,200 interviews conducted in 12 townships across Kachin. The research provides data and analysis on the socioeconomic situation, attitudes towards peace and conflict, gender dynamics, return and resettlement, among others. The Durable Peace Programme Consortium has decided to share the results of this baseline, as it provides insights into the Kachin context for interested stakeholders, and also to encourage cooperation and information sharing. The report adopts a highly visual approach to communicate the large amount of data collected.
In a context of chronic insecurity in Central African Republic, civilian populations are exposed to the threats of violence, extortion and deprivation. More than 600,000 people have been displaced within the country. Oxfam's programme in CAR put into place a community protection approach that aims to reduce the exposure of civilians to a range of security risks. This approach is based on two elements: support for local advocacy to target threats and local dialogue on mitigation measures, with Community Protection Committees at the heart of the programme.
This report sums up Oxfam's research into the effectiveness and sustainability of Oxfam's protection work in the Central African Republic.