As its representatives promised last month, the World Food Programme (WFP) has begun distributing 500 grocery vouchers, which will be valid for two months, to “the most vulnerable families living on hurricane-stricken Abaco”.
According to a press release from the organization dated January 15, the vouchers will be redeemable at Maxwell’s Supermarket and will allow families to purchase grocery items including food and “other essential household items”.
A WFP program officer yesterday confirmed the value of the vouchers will range between $1,000 to $1,800 based on the number of household members.
“Each voucher will provide a family with a two-month supply of food – including meat, fish and fresh produce – and the ability to purchase other essential household items,” the WFP release read.
“Recipients will be able to redeem their voucher at the main supermarket in Marsh Harbour, giving them choice and a sense of normalcy amid the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian in September 2019.”
It added, “The families receiving vouchers were selected by a WFP-led needs assessment, carried out in collaboration with the government and other humanitarian organizations, to determine the ongoing needs of affected households.”
The recipients will be on mainland Abaco as well as Abaco cays, “thanks to contributions from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with Samaritan’s Purse and in support of the government-led response”, according to the release.
“With the largest supermarket reopening, these vouchers will provide families, who have so far primarily depended on external assistance to meet their essential needs, with purchasing power and the option to buy preferred food and products,” Emergency Coordinator and Head of WFP Barbados Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean Regis Chapman was quoted as saying.
“This food voucher assistance is a way to support people’s choice and dignity in what is still a very difficult situation for hundreds of families who lost everything.”
WFP representatives earlier said the program was anticipated to be rolled out by mid-December as the organization phases out its operations in The Bahamas, however a program officer told The Nassau Guardian that it experienced delays due to the assessment process taking longer than expected.
In addition to assistance with providing meals in the aftermath of the storm, WFP has also provided assistance with emergency telecommunications; co-ordination and logistics; and also shipping, trucking and warehouses.