DP67 Cash transfers from disaster response: lessons from Tropical Cyclone Winston

Development Policy Centre Discussion Paper No. 67

By Aisha Mansur, Jesse Doyle and Oleksiy Ivaschenko

March 2018

In 2016, following Tropical Cyclone (TC) Winston, Fiji became the First Pacific Island country to channel post-disaster assistance through its existing social safety net programs. With wind speeds of up to 306km/h, TC Winston was one of the most powerful cyclones ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, and the first Category 5 cyclone to directly strike Fiji. The Government swiftly mobilised funds through its existing social protection programs to channel cash assistance to poor households and vulnerable groups. Households covered under the Poverty Benefits Scheme, Social Pension Scheme, and Care and Protection Allowance were provided with a top-up payment equivalent to three months of their regular benefits, which was designed to help them meet their basic needs. This impact evaluation: (i) assesses the impact of these top-up cash transfers on poor households; and (ii) puts forward a list of recommendations on what measures could be put in place ex-ante to improve this type of response in the case of future natural disasters.

Mansur, A., Doyle, J. & Ivaschenko, O. 2018, ‘Cash transfers for disaster response: lessons from tropical cyclone Winston’, Discussion Paper No. 67, Development Policy Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Canberra.

Aisha Mansur

Aisha Mansur is a Social Protection Consultant at the World Bank.

Jesse Doyle

Jesse Doyle is a Senior Social Protection Specialist (Economics) at the Australian Government's Partnerships for Social Protection program.

Oleksiy Ivaschencko

Oleksiy Ivaschencko is a Senior Economist at the World Bank.