Climate phenomenon „El Niño Costero", Peru
Strengthening People’s Autonomy via Cash Transfers
In 2017, the climate phenomenon "El Niño Costero" has led to extreme precipitation. Other than the Pacific-wide "El Niño" phenomenon , "El Niño Costero" occurs locally and is significantly harder to predict. Sea temperatures off the Peruvian coast were four to six degrees above regular. This caused extraordinary amounts of water to evaporate and induced persistent rain, which ultimately led to devastating floods. In the first half of 2017 more than one million Peruvians along the coastline were affected. Hundreds of thousands were depending on food assistance and tens of thousands lost their homes. The country’s infrastructure was heavily impaired. Main routes were impassable, water and power supply broke down. Poor hygiene conditions caused the outbreak of diseases, and medical care was inadequate.
Against this background, the ifa-Funding Programme Humanitarian Assistance supports several projects implemented by German aid organisations and their local partners. The regional focus of the projects is in the most affected areas in Northern Peru, namely Piura, Tumbes and Lambayeque. The funded aid operations cover all critical aspects of emergency relief. The affected population received support for water- sanitation and hygiene, housing, health and food. In order to achieve sustainable results, awareness campaigns form an integral part of project work.
Moreover, the projects show that new strategies and innovative instruments of humanitarian assistance are indeed implemented. In 2016, the United Nations held the first "World Humanitarian Summit”" in Istanbul. One of the demands put forward at the summit is to increasingly employ Cash Transfer Programming as an alternative to traditional aid packages. Doing justice to this demand, ifa promoted the implementation of a Cash Transfer Programme in Peru. In lieu of aid supplies, affected families received an initial financial assistance of 190 EUR. Such programmes aim at giving back a sense of autonomy to the affected population. Given functioning markets, Cash Transfer Programmes are a promising instrument to provide needs-oriented assistance. Recipients know best what they need to rebuild their livelihoods. Even in the aftermaths of a disaster, individual needs are far from homogenous. Standardized aid packages or other forms of one-size fits all assistance can hardly satisfy individual needs. Also, recipients purchase their goods in the affected region, thus strengthening local markets. In addition, Cash Transfer Programmes cut high logistical costs that arise in the purchase, packaging and transport of aid packages. These funds can ultimately be made available for the affected people. In the case of Peru, the financial assistance was distributed via bank checks. Other Cash Transfer Programmes use vouchers or mobile money transfer.