Cash transfer programme to boost crisis-hit communities in Philippines

Published: 12 December 2013 14:54 CET

by Nichola Jones, IFRC

Isolated mountain communities on Panay island are set to receive a cash boost to support the redevelopment of vital coconut and rice crops crucial to their livelihoods. Typhoon Haiyan toppled thousands of coconut trees and destroyed paddy fields in Tapaz and Dumarao municipalities in Panay, leaving 10,000 families without the income from farming on which they depend.

Now, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has teamed up with the Philippine Red Cross to launch a cash transfer programme for the households that need it most.

Joy Singhal, of the IFRC cash team, said: “In the mountainous areas of Panay, the impact on agriculture was hard. The local economy of these areas depends on coconuts and rice.”

An estimated 90 per cent of the rural population in typhoon affected areas are small scale farmers that will require support before the planting season ends in January 2014. “The rice sowing season is now," Joy said. "If farmers can’t get the seeds, they will miss the harvest in April and that will have a devastating impact on livelihoods. Cash transfers are a vital part of the recovery process – they give families the independence to buy what they need most.”

Each household will receive 2,000 Philippine pesos – the equivalent of about 41 Swiss franc or $50 US dollars. The cash is supplemented with essential aid supplies. Hygiene kits, tool kits, jerry cans, mosquito nets and tarpaulins are also provided for families whose homes have been destroyed.

The cash scheme in Lapaz and Dumarao in Panay is being replicated in Iloilo, Tacloban, Ormoc and will target 50,000 households. Volunteers from the Philippine Red Cross are carrying out detailed assessments of the areas expected to receive the cash and the IFRC plans to begin rolling out the grants in the next two weeks.