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Aid funds reach those in need better as cash – Oxfam Vanuatu

Monday 18 July 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Regional, Vanuatu

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Aid funds reach those in need better as cash – Oxfam Vanuatu
Vanuatu vatu Photo: ppart/123RF

Too much aid funding sent to Vanuatu has not reached those it was aimed at, Oxfam says, advocating a switch to in-person cash grants.

During previous disasters large amounts of money had not reached the affected people, Oxfam country director Anita Samana said.

As a result, cash would be the future of aid in Vanuatu.

In 2015, category 5 cyclone Pam devastated central and southern parts of the country. But only about 20 percent of billions worth of vatu donated via international agencies had reached people who were affected by the cyclone, and 70 percent had been used in operational costs, Samana said.

She made the comments during a two-day meeting in Port Vila last week that brought together 23 advocates from Torba, Sanma, Shefa and Tafea provinces.

Since 2020, over 265 million vatu had been distributed in cash to people in those three provinces during disasters.

The latest cash transfer by Oxfam had been during recent volcanic ashfall on Tanna Island and flooding during heavy rain on Efate Island, when those affected were given cash transfers from Oxfam.

The program of cash transfer will end next month, and last week's meeting was aimed at convincing the government to use the system of cash transfer during disasters.

The 23 advocates for cash transfer said it was better than assistance-in-kind, because cash reached people much quicker.

They said sometimes assistance-in-kind took weeks to reach affected people.