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Conflicts and disasters

Everyone has the right to live free from fear and danger. So when conflicts or natural disasters, such as the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 strike, we get there fast.

Saving lives

From 2005-2010, we supported 20 million people in emergencies, saving lives, preventing diseases and stopping people become destitute.

In 2015/16, 1.7 million people benefited from the distribution of food, cash or vouchers, enabling them to survive a crisis. 

The issue

More than 43 million people have had to abandon their homes because of war, crime, political unrest, and natural disasters (UNHCR, 2011). Many lose everything they own.

Poor countries are four times as likely as rich ones to experience major conflicts. And people living in poverty are the most vulnerable to all kinds of disasters. 

Poor communities often have to settle and build on land prone to flooding, storms and landslides. So natural events, like heavy rain, can become a full-blown crisis - especially when people lack the basics they need to cope in the aftermath.

And unless we take action now, climate change will lead to even more disasters triggered by events like droughts and flooding. Many communities are already seeing big changes, and are working hard to adapt.

What we're doing

Responding to emergencies

We're world leading experts in public health in emergencies. And we have a long record of saving lives in a crisis.

We also provide hygiene kits, seeds and tools, vaccinations and fodder for livestock, and food. And we train health promoters, lobby people in power to protect those affected by conflicts, and give people cash for work.

As part of the Oxfam International confederation, we work in more than 90 countries and that means we're usually right there when an emergency happens - ready to respond right away. Like the drought in East Africa in 2011, or the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010. We were there before the UN declared a crisis, providing clean water, latrines and hygiene kits.

Campaigning for action

Oxfam lobbies governments and bodies like the UN, influencing international responses to conflicts and disasters - not only by raising funds for relief work and pressing for swifter aid, but also to end the injustices that lie at the root of so many conflicts and disasters.

We also campaign to curb the supply of arms that fuel violence. For the past decade, along with allies such as Amnesty International and IANSA, we have been calling for strict controls on the global trade in arms, through the Control Arms campaign.

Tens of thousands of Oxfam supporters have helped persuade the majority of the world's governments to develop an Arms Trade Treaty. On 2 April 2013, history was made at the UN as countries agreed for the first time that the global arms trade must be brought under control.

Donate to Oxfam's work in the UK

Make a donation and support our work to tackle food poverty, reduce food waste, and find long lasting solutions to the underlying causes of poverty in the UK.

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Other issues we work on