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WFP and UNICEF Support the Government of Dominica to Provide Emergency Cash Transfers to 25,000 people affected by Hurricane Maria

WFP and UNICEF Support the Government of Dominica to Provide Emergency Cash Transfers to 25,000 people affected by Hurricane Maria

DOMINICA – 4 December 2017 - The World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF are partnering to support the Government of Dominica in providing Emergency Cash Transfers to 25,000 people most affected by Hurricane Maria.

Hurricane Maria struck Dominica on 18 September 2017 causing significant damage to infrastructure, roads and bridges, and destroying crops, livestock, forests and fishing. At that time, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) estimated that 98 percent of roofs were damaged, leaving entire communities homeless. In addition, 50 percent of houses sustained structural damage.

After an immediate response to the emergency with the distribution of in-kind food and relief items, WFP and UNICEF are supporting the Government of Dominica in the next phase of the relief operation.

The poorest and most vulnerable people –who are part of the Public Assistance Programme—and the families hardest hit by Hurricane Maria, chosen through an agreed community selection process led by the local village councils, are eligible to receive the Emergency Cash Transfer. Among them are the elderly, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children.

The Emergency Cash Transfers build upon the existing Public Assistance Programme in Dominica, run by the Ministry of Social Services, Family and Gender Affairs. For the next three months 8,300 families will receive a payment of between EC$240 (US$90) and EC$645 (US$239) per month depending on the number of children in the household. They can use the cash transfers to meet their basic needs, including food, clothes, hygiene items, and school supplies for children.

WFP and UNICEF will also provide technical assistance and capacity to the Ministry for an effective implementation of the transfer, which will almost quadruple beneficiaries from the existing social protection programme.

The Hon. Catherine Daniel, Minister for Social Services, Family and Gender Affairs, thanked UNICEF and WFP on behalf of her Ministry and the Government of Dominica. “We are pleased to partner with this great initiative,” she said, adding, “This programme will certainly augment our social protection strategies and provide support to the most vulnerable in our population.”

“WFP commends the Government of Dominica for using its social protection platform in a flexible way to allow its expansion to quickly reach crisis-affected women, men, girls and boys with cash transfers to meet their most urgent basic needs,” said Mr. Marco Selva, WFP’s

Emergency Coordinator in Dominica. “It sets a worldwide example on how a social protection platform can swiftly turn into an effective system to respond to shocks.”

Ms. Muriel Mafico, UNICEF’s Deputy Representative for the Eastern Caribbean Area, said: “We know that the use of cash transfers in humanitarian responses is a proven way of empowering-crisis affected populations to meet their basic needs in a manner that assures their dignity.”

Cash transfers are one of the most effective ways for people in a crisis to overcome the shock, get themselves back on their feet, build resilience for the future, and ensure that the local economy is revitalized.

The implementation of the Emergency Cash Transfers is made possible thanks to the contributions of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Canada, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and MasterCard.

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For more information, please contact:


Patrick Knight, Communication Specialist

UNICEF Office for the Eastern Caribbean Area

Phone: 246 467-6162.  Email:

About WFP

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

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