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Cash-based aid distribution—Case study: Typhoon Yolanda

Roel A. Serrano, MS, Erik Wood, MS, Tim Frazier, PhD


Cash-based humanitarian responses tend to empower locally driven recoveries. However, in-country barriers can prevent that recovery stimulus from achieving its full potential for the impacted population. This study discusses issues surrounding cash-based responses, opposite traditional food, or material aid. Next, this project produced a pilot case study that focused on soliciting information from two sets of respondents, namely, community leaders and households located in the 2013 Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) disaster area to gauge sentiment of whether relief funds had a positive impact on recovery. Findings reveal that the lack of clarity in government and nongovernment stakeholders combined with an onerous bureaucratic process restricted the access to funds. Additionally, poor information dissemination and communication strategies resulted in inefficiencies in distributing funds. Recommendations to address the identified gaps, both in funding protocols and communication strategies, were made to help those areas still struggling from this disaster in the Philippines and as an example to forward the international body of knowledge on improving cash-based aid interventions. Practical implications include supporting global trends that cash-based aid can, indeed, support locally empowered and sustainable recoveries while noting that there are still improvements to be made to this type of disaster response.


disaster management, cash-based aid, humanitarian response, Yolanda, Philippines, emergency management

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