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Following the tsunami that struck coastal regions of South East Asia on 26 December 2004, the World Food Programme announced that two million people, mostly in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, were in need of emergency food aid. Oxfam is publishing this briefing note because it is concerned about challenging the bias towards food aid in the current design of relief responses, and to raise awareness and expertise among relief workers on cash-transfer programmes and local food purchase. Especially in the current crisis, where a high level of funding has been secured, cash transfers would represent a far more cost-effective and efficient response to the terrible situation in which millions of people are struggling to survive and recover their livelihoods.

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