Humanitarian relief is at high risk of corruption, says Transparency International (TI), which has released a guide on how aid agencies can combat the problem in disaster response. The guide points to several examples of how corruption can harm those affected by disaster, including aid workers exchanging food for sex in West Africa, survivors of the tsunami in Aceh losing their homes when contractors built without foundations and village chiefs diverting food from the most vulnerable in India in 2001. Humanitarian aid is vulnerable to corruption because sudden inflows of money and goods tend to flood resource-poor areas, aid must be delivered quickly and many disaster-prone countries have fragile institutions which weaken further when crisis hits, TI says. Corruption is already endemic to many disaster zones, TI adviser Rosslyn Hees said, pointing to a strong correlation between UN emergency flash appeal countries and poor scorers on TI’s annual corruption perceptions index. The guide, published on Feb. 1 February, advises aid workers on how to fight corruption, including how to track resources, detect aid diversion and confront extortion. Strong whistle-blowing policies and monitoring and evaluation programs are among the recommended tools.