CERF allocates $4 million in response to ongoing drought in Madagascar

9 February 2011: In response to the protracted drought situation primarily in the south of the country, CERF has allocated $4 million for humanitarian response in Madagascar.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will receive some $1.6 million to improve access to basic healthcare, control disease outbreaks, promote hygiene, and provide nutrition security for women and children. Some $1.5 million has been allocated to the World Food Programme (WFP) for protracted relief and recovery operations in southern Madagascar. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) will each receive some $300,000 to improve outbreak control and access to healthcare for vulnerable populations. Finally, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will use some $200,000 for inputs distribution to vulnerable farming households.

Although southern Madagascar suffers from chronic drought, this region has been particularly affected by two consecutive years of low rainfall that has led to the failure of the main agriculture season in 2009 and 2010. For the first time, areas traditionally producing surplus have been affected, and the prolonged drought situation now affects an estimated 1.8 million people in southern Madagascar.

People have been left with little time to recover from previous failed seasons and traditional coping mechanisms have eroded. Men have begun to migrate due to food insecurity and people are forced to walk 10 to 15 kilometres to find safe water supplies. Dysfunction of supply chains for essential medicines is leading to untreated health problems, especially among women and children. Due to lack of funding, 52 health centres reaching 400,000 people have been forced to close since the beginning of January 2011.

The hunger gap period began in October 2010 and is expected to extend up to the end of March 2011. Furthermore, the socio-political crisis that has persisted since 2009 led to the suspension of development aid and drastic decreases in external financial support. This situation is not likely to improve as Madagascar’s political agenda remains uncertain in the coming months.

[Last update: 28 February 2011]

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