Haiti earthquake: DEC agencies to give cash to survivors
Assessment teams from Oxfam have discovered there is enough food being produced in Haiti but hundreds of thousands of people left homeless have no money to buy it. Injecting cash into the local market will allow Haitians to buy Haitian-grown produce, giving a vital boost to the country's economy.
The move to distribute cash is intended to complement the large-scale food distributions currently being organised by the World Food Programme.
Prospery Raymond, Haiti country manager for Christian Aid, said: "If we just hand out food that has come in from abroad, local farmers will not be able to sell their food and that will create a fresh problem for the farmers."
DEC aid agencies say distributing cash rather than food parcels alone helps ensure that families get exactly what they need, and nothing goes to waste. Putting choice in their hands also restores dignity and sense of self-reliance after weeks of dependence on the aid community.
KORAL, a Haitian partner organisation of Christian Aid, is organising the first distribution of money to 271 families. Local communities chose the families who would receive the money. Some had lost relatives; others were looking after orphans or had been disabled.
Local organisations will give 2,000 gourdes (£30) to the families in the southern towns of Aquin and St Louis du Sud - enough to buy rations for 4-6 weeks for an average family of five.
According to Oxfam emergency expert Alexandros Yiannopoulos survivors of a natural disaster prefer money to goods or food parcels once the emergency period is over.
Amanda Weisbaum from Save the Children said: "Since we started giving cash instead of aid packages we've always found that people spend the money they are given responsibly. Mothers spend it on food and clothes for children, even if that means going hungry themselves.
"In Kenya during the drought of 2006 we delivered cash to families in several isolated villages. When we arrived people formed a queue and collected their cash. It was a one-off payment that got them through a very challenging time."
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