Vanuatu introduces digital cash transfer for cyclone affected households

Port Vila, May 25 : More than 1,000 households and nearly 90 vendors affected by Tropical Cyclones Judy and Kevin in the island nation of Vanuatu, have been registered for digital cash transfer using blockchain technology. This came after the Vanuatu government decided that instead of delivering food rations to the affected people, it will provide cash using an online payment application of the Vanuatu Post, reports Xinhua news agency. The Vanuatu Daily Post reported that the country's Minister of Finance John Salong said a mass registration will be conducted on Tanna and Efate after an evaluation following the registration. People in remote areas in Vanuatu lack access to financial services and often lack reserves for emergencies. While the internet is unaffordable, the government uses Starlink Internet to cope with connectivity challenges in distributing cash to 66,000 households altogether. This is the first time the government will reach the most vulnerable families with this mobile cash transfer, a growing humanitarian action that proves timely and efficient. A state of emergency was declared in Vanuatu in March after it was ravaged by Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Judy and Tropical Cyclone Kevin. These cyclones caused extensive damage, uprooting trees and cutting off telecommunication in parts of the nation, including the capital city of Port Vila. Vanuatu is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, and it is regularly affected by cyclones during the monsoon season from November to April. Few in this archipelago nation of more than 80 islands were prepared for two Category 4 cyclones hitting the country within 72 hours in early March. /IANS


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