Computers to improve disaster relief

Oxfam Australia's cash and livelihoods advisor Sandra Hart. Picture: Lice Movono

Oxfam Australia's cash and livelihoods advisor Sandra Hart. Picture: Lice Movono

Update: 12:54PM OXFAM, one of the world’s largest organizations is working with advance computer software to better do its humanitarian work in the Pacific.

Cash transfers have become the more preferred way for
international non government organizations (ingo) to roll out its relief work.

Oxfam Australia’s cash and livelihoods advisor Sandra
Hart said block chain technology (BCT) has provided organizations like hers
with solutions to problems around cash transfer based humanitarian work.

The Vanuatu based Ms Hart is a presenter at the first
ever Regional BCT Tech Camp organized by the US Embassy, TraSeable Solutions and
the University of the South Pacific.

“Cash transfer systems are not new but what BCT
gives us is an option on the table as a viable alternative to humanitarian
relief work,” Ms Hart said.

Currently the way cash transfers are made to Pacific
counties post disaster incurs many fees at various parts of the finance sector.

“There are many intermediaries and a lot of admin
costs at various levels which make the processing fee unacceptably high,”
she said.

Other concerns around cash based relief work, Ms Hart
said is around ensuring funds are used for its intended purpose and that it
gets to disaster stricken communities on time.

BCT makes it possible for humanitarian organizations to
send funds quickly and trace it.

Ms Hart explained that Oxfam is currently conducting a
Vanuatu based study on BCT which could result in a stand alone cash transfer
humanitarian system before the next Pacific cyclone season.

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