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Refugee crisis

Millions of people have been forced to flee their homes, to run for their lives and risk the safety of their families.

Oxfam urgently need to help more people in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and closer to home in European countries like Italy, Greece, Serbia and Macedonia.

You can help.

Donate to Oxfam's response 

Sam Tarling

A child from Bekaa Valley, where Oxfam is helping families who have fled Syria's conflict.

The situation

In Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, we are providing life-saving clean water, sanitation and vital support for families who have lost everything.

We are helping those arriving in Italy by providing food, clothes, shoes, and personal hygiene kits as well as longer term psychological and legal support. Here we are supporting asylum seekers to find accommodation, and with cash so that they can meet their basic needs

We urgently need to scale up our work. We cannot do this without your help.

Video: Oxfam's Amy Christian reports back from Za'atari camp in Jordan

Oxfam's response in Lebanon

Oxfam has reached more than 250,000 vulnerable people in Lebanon. Our response has included:

  • Providing 3,200 hygiene kits (accompanied by hygiene promotion and awareness sessions), toilet cleaning kits, and 840 environmental cleaning kits, and distributing household, communal and municipal waste bins.
  • Building and repairing over 1,100 toilets, ensuring that each is shared by no more than 20 people.
  • Installing over 720 water tanks in communal areas.
  • Delivering 10 million litres of water through water trucking, providing refugees with clean water for drinking, cooking and washing.
  • Constructing or repairing 70 shared bathing facilities, and providing families with jerry cans and water storage containers.

Oxfam's response in Jordan

In Jordan we work in both Za'atari refugee camp and in Jordanian communities that are hosting Syrian refugees. Za'atari camp is now the fourth biggest population centre in Jordan, housing around 90,000 Syrian refugees.

Oxfam currently works in three of Za'atari's 12 districts, supervising water and sanitation, refuse management and the cleaning and maintenance of wash blocks, we also co-ordinate hygiene promotion activities. In addition, together with UNICEF and other international actors, we are installing a water network in the camp, which will ensure refugees have safe access to water. To date, our response has included:

  • Building 50 water, sanitation and hygiene blocks, including 318 toilets, 288 bathing areas, 72 laundry areas, and 100 water points, serving up to 15,600 people.
  • Maintaining 120 water, sanitation and hygiene blocks in 3 districts benefiting around 25.000 people.
  • Installing 270 portable latrines as a temporary measure.
  • Distributing 75 commodes for disabled users.
  • Provided 19 x 95,000 litre and 378 x 2,000 litre water tanks.
  • Installed 10 hand-washing facilities in the market area.
  • Built 24 toilets in youth centres, sports grounds and playgrounds.
  • Constructed 10 water, sanitation and hygiene blocks (showers, toilets and water points) at border crossing areas.
  • Distributed hygiene materials to 96,000 people across the camp.
  • Design and preparation for construction of a piped water network to benefit all 90,000 people in Za'atari
  • Solid waste management for up to 25,000 people
  • Hygiene promotion and community mobilisation for up to 25,000 people (36,000 during water network construction)

Oxfam's response in Syria

Oxfam has had an office inside Syria since July 2013, responding alongside other agencies to the urgent need for clean water. An estimated 35% of water treatment plants in Syria have been damaged during the conflict and there are concerns over water contamination.

Since January 2014, Oxfam has built and repaired water systems that serve almost one million people inside Syria. We have also undertaken water treatment activities, improved sewage systems, and worked on hygiene promotion in schools.

In June of 2015, we completed a water treatment plant in Salamiyah City, providing water to 35,000 people where before piped water was only available once every ten days for only a few hours a day. 

Oxfam's response in Italy

Oxfam is working with partners to support people arriving from a wide range of countries (Tunisia, Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, Gambia, Mali, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bangladesh, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Ivory Coast and Eritrea) - including women and children who have made the journey alone.

As well as accommodation and living essentials (clothes, shoes, food), they are provided with legal and administrative support for submitting asylum claims, accessing health and social services, language classes and vocational training, voluntary work and social activities that help them develop relationships with the communities where they now live.

Oxfam is currently extending its work with a new program in Sicily to ensure that asylum seekers in the large reception centres there are receiving effective legal and psychological assistance, together with a mentor scheme for unaccompanied minors.

Oxfam's response in Serbia

Oxfam is in Serbia working to provide an immediate response to the humanitarian needs. We have seen major gaps in terms of drinking water, hygiene, and health care. The is also a need for protection for the most vulnerable people, including families with small children and unaccompanied minors and access to information and legal advice.

Oxfam has a flexible response to react to changing needs, this is an unprecedented situation and no one really knows what is going to happen from one day to the next. As borders are closed and government responses change so do the routes the people choose to take, so the needs in each location are changing. Oxfam is ready to move to new locations and respond to the daily realities faced by people travelling through the Western Balkan countries.

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