Page last updated at 01:21 GMT, Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Oxfam closes tsunami programme

Tsunami relief work in Banda Aceh, Indonesia
Indonesia was one of the areas worst hit by the tsunami.

Oxfam is to end its relief response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami at the end of the month, the British-based aid charity has announced.

Oxfam has received around $294m in donations over the last four years.

The tsunami killed 230,000 people in several countries, with hundreds of thousands left injured or homeless.

Announcing the decision an Oxfam spokesman said: "We decided four years was the amount of time it would take to spend the money responsibly".

"Although this particular pot of money has been finished, if there is a need we will start new programmes," the spokesman added.

The money helped Oxfam to assist 2.5m people in seven tsunami-affected countries, including Sri Lanka and India.

It provided clean water and sanitation to people displaced by the Boxing Day disaster and allowed houses and schools to be rebuilt.

Barbara Stocking, chair of the Oxfam International Tsunami Fund Board, described the response to the tsunami as "astounding".

She added: "The money we received allowed us not only to help meet the immediate emergency needs of tsunami-affected populations, but also to try to address the factors that made them vulnerable, not least poverty and a lack of influence over their own lives."

Ms Stocking said despite the scale of the disaster, much had been achieved.

"We have helped to give people better access to markets for their goods. We have helped them to gain the knowledge they need to protect themselves against future disasters and the confidence to demand a say in decisions that affect them."

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