A family in Bekasi, West Java, receives a conditional cash transfer (PKH) from the Social Affairs Ministry on Friday. (BeritaSatu Photo/Mikael Niman)

Social Affairs Ministry Increases Aid for Poor Families During Covid-19 Pandemic

BY :TARA MARCHELIN

MARCH 24, 2020

Jakarta. The Social Affairs Ministry will offer more food aid for 15.2 million poor and vulnerable families this month to help them weather economic shocks from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic, which until Tuesday has killed 55 people and infected 686 in Indonesia, has forced several cities to limit economic activities, endangering the livelihood of millions of people who depend on a daily income. 

The ministry said it would increase the value of its basic food aid to Rp 200,000 ($12) per family per month from originally Rp 150,000 until August.

The increase will be made available to families who have registered with the ministry.

"We want to lessen the economic impact from the Covid-19 pandemic on poor and vulnerable families by upping their social safety net," Asep Sasa Purnama, the ministry's director-general for poverty management, said on Tuesday.

The ministry, Asep said, has also sped up the distribution of its conditional cash transfer (PKH) for ten million beneficiary families.

He said the second stage of the PKH program, which was initially planned for April, would already be running by the end of this month. 

The third stage, originally planned for July, would be running by next month, he said. 

"We usually distribute the PKH fund every three months but during the Covid-19 emergency we will distribute it every month," Asep said during a virtual press conference at the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) headquarters in Jakarta.

The Social Affairs Ministry will also provide rice for poor families in regions affected by the pandemic.

Asep said the ministry has sent letters to governors, district heads and mayors to help with the rice distribution.

"They can also provide additional rice reserves if needed," Asep said.

The Social Affairs Ministry will also provide compensation for families of Covid-19 victims.

"The ministry will provide a compensation of Rp 15 million per victim," he said.  

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