The Hong Kong Red Cross on Thursday said it is now giving cash to people affected by disasters in the SAR, instead of providing them with food and clothes.
The charity announced the change while introducing its five-year strategic plan and said it has given money or cash vouchers to more than 3,300 local households affected by typhoons, floods, home fires and so on, since August.
The NGO said their new strategic plan aims to enhance local disaster relief services.
Its CEO, Bonnie So, said giving out cash is more helpful because people can use it to buy what they need most.
“In the past we always distributed relief items like clothing and daily necessities to the affected people. But in recent years we have copied the mechanism from the overseas relief operation, which is cash.”
“Cash distribution is much more effective, efficient and flexible. When the affected people receive cash they can buy something they really need. We always say that we give them dignity. They really buy things they need rather than distributed relief items that they don’t need the most,” she said.
She said the Red Cross decides how much cash to give each family based on how badly their home is damaged and how many people live there.
"We have established a mechanism before we really go into the field to distribute cash. We copy the mechanism from International Red Cross... The range is from HK$1,800 to HK$5,000. For example if there’s only one person in the family, maybe we give them about HK$1,000 – and for a family with four members maybe they will be eligible for HK$5,000.”
She also highlighted that the cash is given out quickly.
“We really want to help the people as soon as possible… Recently we had some fire incidents and the distribution of the cash [was completed] within 24 hours.”