The Vanuatu Government will now be providing cash relief directly to disaster victims, starting with the two severe Tropical Cyclones (TCs) Judy and Kevin.
This was revealed by the Minister of Finance and Economic Management, John Salong, when delivering his budget statement in Parliament.
Minister Salong said providing cash assistance will empower citizens during humanitarian crisis in the sense that it will allow them to decide for themselves what they need the most to recover.
“The government will provide direct cash assistance to households in affected areas by the cyclone,” Minister Salong conveyed in his statement.
“This will be done in a way that empowers citizens and builds resilience, as experience and history have shown that a large amount of money spent on disaster response goes towards logistics and coordination (64%) while only 36% goes towards helping victims.
“We want to find ways to give more power and resources to citizens in times of disaster. During TC Harold, we used VT887, 009,880, but 64% was used for logistics only. Only 36% was used for rations.”
The Vanuatu Government has never provided cash as a form of humanitarian assistance other than distribution of food rations, shelter, food and water.
When a huge amount of money goes to spend on logistics, little will reach the people in need.
In 2018, Oxfam introduced its Cash Transfer Programme (CTP) to victims of the Ambae volcano eruption. The idea was to allow victims own their recovery since it reaches people much quicker.
The program was implement throughout Vanuatu during other cyclones and also the COVID-19 crisis. CTP is considered as the largest cash transfer program ever implemented in the region, considering a lot of money that was given by the New Zealand Government to make it work.
CTP has proven to be an effective form of humanitarian assistance, especially in a country where more than half of the population live in remote areas where inaccessibility of roads cause delay in relief assistance during disasters.
Oxfam in Vanuatu was recognised globally in 2020 having awarded one million euros from the European Commission Horizon Prize on Blockchains for Social Good.
Based on its massive success in the country, regional Oxfam offices have requested the program to be established in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and as far abroad as Venezuela.
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