$200 Top-Up for Social Welfare Beneficiaries in Projected Tropical Cyclone Path

UN’s World Food Program and the Fiji Government today signed an agreement, facilitating the payment of $200 to social welfare beneficiaries before cyclones make landfall.

Signed at the Ministry of Finance office in Suva, the MOU follows the launch of the Anticipatory Action Framework for Tropical Cyclones in Fiji in November last year, a first in the Pacific, and stands to benefit almost 15,000 Fijians who are assisted under the social welfare program in the country.

Permanent Secretary of Social Welfare Eseta Nadakuitavuki said the funds would be dispersed to beneficiaries who were going to be directly affected by the impending cyclone.

“Our team at the Ministry is ready to implement a $200 top-up amount to up to 15,000 existing social welfare beneficiaries that would be in the forecasted path of a cyclone. The AA cash program aims to build resilience by providing the much-needed cash to social welfare beneficiaries before a cyclone hits to minimize the negative impacts on lives and livelihoods by protecting them and their assets.”

World Food Programme Country Director Alpha Ba said the venture was significant because Fiji was in the cyclone season presently.

“Through the Anticipatory Action project, we will work with the Fiji Government to support at-risk communities to mitigate the impact of the tropical cyclone through the provision of fast and efficient cash-based transfers to targeted Department of Social Welfare beneficiaries using the Government’s existing social protection payment systems.”

Deputy Head of Budget in the Ministry of Finance Kelera Ravono said they welcomed this much-needed help for Fiji’s vulnerable society.

“The collaboration marks a significant milestone in our efforts to strengthen our social protection mechanisms and enhance our resilience to natural disasters, particularly tropical cyclones. Fiji is the first country in the Pacific to pilot AA related to tropical cyclones, and is pioneering a new global concept in humanitarian aid, climate change adaptation, disaster management, and climate finance.”

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