When the help dries up

Published on 04 May 2009

If A few small gold earrings escaped the cyclone the villagers pawn them, otherwise they pawn their clothes. They complain that moneylenders advance only a fraction of the item’s value. And, with an interest rate of 30% a month, they can rarely afford to redeem their collateral. (...) The leaders of the international rescue operation insist that everyone received some assistance, and the feared secondary wave of deaths was averted. By October 2008 the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) had reached 1.1m people, exceeding the 920,000 it originally envisaged. If basic needs were eventually met, however, the recovery phase has barely begun. Some 500,000 people still have no permanent home, 200,000 have no access to fresh water and 350,000 are receiving WFP food aid.

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