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A new kind of disaster aid: Pay people cash, before disaster strikes

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

Traditionally, disaster aid has been delivered after a disaster has struck. However, a new study has found that paying people cash before disaster strikes can help them to recover more quickly and effectively.

Rolled up 20 dollar bill

The study, which was conducted by the World Food Programme (WFP), found that people who received cash were more likely to stay in their homes after a disaster, and they were also more likely to be able to rebuild their businesses.


The WFP looked at the impact of cash transfers in two countries: Ethiopia and Malawi. In Ethiopia, the WFP gave cash to people who were at risk of a drought. In Malawi, the WFP gave cash to people who were at risk of a cyclone.


They found that people who received cash were more likely to be able to buy food and other essential supplies before the disaster struck. Additionally, they had a higher chance to be able to pay for transportation to safety, and rebuild their homes and businesses after the disaster.


The findings of the study suggest that cash transfers can be a more effective way to deliver disaster aid than traditional methods. Cash transfers give people the flexibility to use the money in the way that is most helpful to them, and they can help people to recover more quickly and effectively.


The WFP is now planning to scale up its cash transfer program in other countries. The organization believes that cash transfers can be a valuable tool for helping people to cope with the effects of climate change.


Providing cash to people before a disaster due to climate change brings several benefits. It gives individuals the ability to get essential items like food, water, and supplies ahead of the upcoming catastrophe. Moreover, the cash can help them with transportation expenses, making it safer for them to move to a secure place. Additionally, having money readily available speeds up the recovery process for rebuilding homes and businesses. Ultimately, this approach boosts resilience by increasing the chances of people staying in their homes even after the disaster has subsided.



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