CRS aids families affected by cyclones, food shortage in Madagascar

Since December, Madagascar has been hit by five deadly cyclonic storms which, compounded by recent heavy rainfall and flooding, have severely affected more than 1 million people.

About 150 deaths have been reported thus far, while homes, roads and bridges, farmland, and livestock in the northern and southeast regions of the country have been destroyed.

Meanwhile, in the southern part of the country, there are approximately 60,000 families suffering from water scarcity and famine-like conditions.

CRS Responds

With food bundles provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), CRS has implemented a comprehensive disaster-relief plan that - in addition to providing food and other lifesaving supplies - also ensures agricultural recovery by distributing seeds to 15,000 families, reaching a total of 75,000 individuals.

"We were able to provide a package of what the affected families expressed to be their immediate needs [for food and nonfood items]," says Rakoto Armand, CRS Madagascar response coordinator.

The scarcity of food in the south was caused by minimal rainfall during the previous three wet seasons as well as limited harvest yields. This trend was exacerbated by deforestation and a high population growth rate, in addition to poor development of infrastructure such as roads, clean water, granaries and seed banks.

"Our intervention was nicely followed by an agricultural recovery helping these affected families to ensure their food needs for the next few months."

Located off the southeastern coast of Africa, Madagascar is highly susceptible to natural disasters. On average, five hurricanes hit the island each year during the cyclonic period of November to April.

Our Work in Madagascar

CRS began working in Madagascar in 1962 providing humanitarian aid in regions with high levels of poverty and malnutrition. For 41 years, the agency has carried out food and nutrition programs for under-privileged mothers, children, disabled persons, and victims of natural disasters.

CRS Fair Trade initiatives have also helped artisans in Madagascar earn greater profits on their crafts, which helps secure a better education and overall life for their families. CRS Madagascar holds a main office in Antananarivo, sub-offices in Fianarantsoa and Ilakaka, and a logistics office near the port of Tamatave.