The chief executive of the Oxfam charity in Britain has said the criticism of the organisation following a sex abuse scandal had been disproportionate. 

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, Mark Goldring apologised over allegations of sexual abuse by Oxfam staff in Haiti, which emerged last week.  

However, he said: "Certainly the scale and intensity of the attacks feels out of proportion to the level of culpability." 

The UK-based charity, which is one of the world's biggest disaster relief charities, has neither confirmed nor denied the Haiti allegations but has said an internal investigation in 2011 confirmed unspecified sexual misconduct occurred.  

It has also agreed not to bid for any new state funding until Britain's government is satisfied the charity meets appropriate ethical standards. 

It comes as Haiti's president Jovenel Moise said that sexual misconduct by Oxfam staff was only the tip of an "iceberg" and called for investigations into other aid organisations that came to the country after a devastating earthquake in 2010.  

Meanwhile, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) said earlier this week that it had dealt with 24 cases of sexual harassment or abuse among its 40,000 staff last year, and dismissed 19 people as a result.