Wednesday, May 22, 2024

MHDFIPA and International Partners Support Hurricane Lisa Relief through Digital Cash Transfer

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The Ministry of Human Development, Families, and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs (MHDFIPA) in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) through the financial support from the European Union through its Department for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the Republic of Korea, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, and in collaboration with the United Nations Joint SDG Fund, and DigiWallet Limited have launched the Hurricane Lisa Cash Assistance Programme (HLAP). One thousand six hundred (1600) vulnerable families who are among the most affected by Hurricane Lisa received a one-time emergency cash assistance of $250.00 Belize dollars through DigiWallet. Eligible households from within the Belize and Cayo districts were selected based on the level of damage suffered by their household and level of vulnerability of persons living in the household. Household information was further verified, and a mechanism was put in place to ensure user-friendly and efficient distribution of funds to affected families via digital transfer.
MHDFIPA as the lead of the Relief and Supplies Management Committee (RSMC) within the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) led and coordinated the assessment of the families and household needs to understand the extent of the impact of Hurricane Lisa. MHDFIPA conducted approximately 4,400 household assessments and distributed food packages and other supplies reaching almost 15,000 individuals.
Under the framework of WFP’s multi-country strategic plan, the MHDFIPA will provide technical assistance and emergency support through cash-based transfers to affected people. The aim is to ensure vulnerable populations have adequate access to food and to prevent deterioration of the nutritional status of affected populations.
“The World Food Programme is grateful to partner with the Government of Belize to assist those most impacted by Hurricane Lisa to meet basic food and other needs. At the same time, WFP complements this assistance with tailored support to the Ministry of Human Development to strengthen the national social protection system to be more efficient in responding to shocks, which includes the piloting of a new digital transfer option through Digiwallet Limited”, stated Regis Chapman, Representative and Country Director WFP Caribbean Multi-Country Office.
The Ambassador of the European Union to Belize, Marianne Van Steen, expressed that “It is very important to us that this support reaches as soon as possible some of the families that were most affected by Hurricane Lisa. The cash transfer we are providing is unconditional, meaning that families are free to choose what to use it for based on their most pressing needs, because they know best. In addition to our partnership with the Ministry of Human Development, Families, and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and the WFP, the European Union (EU) supported the Belize Red Cross society disaster response operations immediately after the hurricane. The EU will continue to work together with BRC and other key partners in the region to strengthen community disaster preparedness actions”.
U.S. Ambassador Michelle Kwan underscored, “The United States supports our friends in Belize, as the nation recovers from the aftermath of Hurricane Lisa. U.S. relief assistance in response to Hurricane Lisa through USAID totalled more than US $136,000, of which US $100,000 was dedicated to the cash assistance program to provide immediate support to the most vulnerable families to secure food and emergency items to meet their recovery needs.”
The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Belize, Choo Won Hoon, emphasized that “As a responsible member of the international community and a friend to Belize, Korea supports the recovery efforts of the most affected victims by Hurricane Lisa in Belize. An unconditional cash transfer of US $100,000 is to provide timely and effective humanitarian assistance to the people of Belize. The Republic of Korea will remain committed to working together with the Ministry of Human Development, Families and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs of Belize and the WFP to this end.”
Minister of Human Development, Families, and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Hon. Dolores Balderamos Garcia emphasized, “The heart of the Ministry’s work is to support vulnerable families, especially in times of emergency. The Ministry would like to thank the staff and personnel of MHDFIPA for their dedication and commitment to go over and beyond the call of duty to support affected families, as well as to staff and personnel of other line ministries and entities that supported the Ministry in executing its responsibilities of providing relief and supplies. Lastly, the Ministry would like to thank the World Food Programme, the European Union, USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, the United Nations Joint SDG Fund, and DigiWallet Limited for partnering to provide emergency support to families using digital cash solutions.”
Since early 2022 the Government of Belize through MHDFIPA has been working on strengthening the capacity of the key focus areas for strengthening including enhancing the RSMC’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and training on Shock Response Social Protection (SRSP) approaches.

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