OVERVIEW OF CRISIS
Magnitude of the cyclone
Intense Tropical Cyclone Enawo, a category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, made landfall in north-eastern Madagascar’s Sava region on 7 March and then moved southward across central and south parts of the country while declining to a tropical depression before exiting the country on the morning of 10 March 2017.
Population and areas affected
As of 17 March, the National Office for Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC) reported around 433,9851 people affected by the cyclone, including 247,219 people temporarily displaced by the cyclone in total and 5,293 who remain displaced. The number of deaths due to the cyclone has risen to 81 with 18 people missing and 253 injured. These figures are based on information received to date and may continue to change as more areas previously inaccessible are able to be reached.
Severe wind damage was reported in Antalaha district (Sava Region), where the cyclone came ashore. Widespread but largely temporary flooding was recorded throughout the northeastern half of Madagascar in the wake of the storm, with waters receding quickly in some areas. Others, including the areas targeted by the Flash Appeal, sustained substantial flood damages and sustained water-logging. Since the return of favourable weather conditions by 10 March, initial surveys and rapid assessments of the most affected areas have taken place.
An UNDAC team deployed to support the BNGRC and humanitarian partners in information management, assessments and coordination arrived in Madagascar on 8 March; IFRC sent a FACT team to support the Malagasy Red Cross; and the Gobal Logistics Cluster deployed a team to support humanitarian partners’ response. Other humanitarian organizations are also strengthening and/or establishing their in-country presence to support the response. Furthermore, from 9 to10 March, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and members of the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) conducted an overflight of the cyclone-affected areas in Sava and Analanjirofo regions.
On Friday 10 March, the President of Madagascar, accompanied by the Prime Minister and many Government officials, visited several of the regions and districts most affected by the cyclone, underscoring the engagement of national authorities in leading and coordinating the response.
The Government declared a national emergency situation on 14 March and launched an appeal for international assistance.
In order to support the local assessment team in the field, the national technical assessment team conducted an aerial and preliminary rapid assessment in the north-eastern (Sava and Analanjirofo regions), eastern (Atsinanana region) and highland areas (Alaotra Mangoro and Analamanga regions) between 10 and 11 March. The assessment was led by the BNGRC and representatives of CARE International, FAO, OCHA, Madagascar Red Cross, MEDAIR, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP and WHO.
This initial assessment revealed severe impact by wind in Antalaha district and severe impact due to floods in Maroantsetra district, both in the north-east. Housing, agriculture, and social infrastructures (health facilities, schools and water points) were most affected.
Housing damage level differ greatly within the affected regions depending on construcion type, urban or rural setting and impact of wind or flood. Without shelter assistance, the vulnerability of affected people will remain high and hamper the capacity to recover, as adequate safe shelter is critical to assure safety, health, dignity and well being of people.
Losses of food and cash crops due to Cyclone Enawo are estimated at 65 per cent in Antalaha and Sambava districts (Sava Region), 85 per cent in Maroantsetra (Analanjirofo Region), and 58 per cent in the districts of Brickaville (Atsinanana Region), Farafangana and Vangaindrano (Atsimo Atsinanana Region). This on top of the fact that food crops across the areas affected by Cyclone Enawo, including Sava, Analamanga, Analanjirofo, Atsinanana, Alaotra Mangoro and Atsimo Atsinanana regions, had been experiencing water shortages since the beginning of the crop year (October 2016). Thus, fewer areas had been planted than normal and the vegetative stage of crop growth was significantly less developed than normal when the cyclone passed. Considering the magnitude of the damage caused by Cyclone Enawo in these areas, vulnerable agricultural households whose survival is highly threatened are among the first victims of the cyclone and in need of immediate assistance to support restoration and recovery of their livelihoods.
In addition, existing food stocks were destroyed due to flooding and damage to houses, and affected households are unable to access sufficient food. Cyclone Enawo has coincided with the lean season in affected areas, so loss of food stocks as well as food price increases, have combined to make food accessibility and availability more difficult after the cyclone.
Food availability is also a challenge in some remote areas not reachable yet due to damage in roads. At present, in affected districts households are estimated to have two to three weeks of food stocks remaining.
High winds and flood waters have also severely affected social service infrastructures. More than 1,300 wells have been flooded and their water polluted, and more than 250 water infrastructures (wells, hand pumps, water systems) were damaged by the cyclone. In Antalaha city – where 80,000 people live – the main water distribution system was damaged, leaving the town without access to clean water. Access to clean water is the first guarantee of survival for all ages, especially for children. Contaminated water causes diarrhoea and other water-related diseases and is thus the main cause of child mortality, also contributing to malnutrition and epidemics (cholera, polio virus, etc.).
Meanwhile, lack of hygiene – 95 per cent of the affected regions practice open defecation – also contributes to more disease outbreaks as water sources, vegetable and fruits become contaminated by feces. Provision of water, water treatment products (including those with strong flocculant components), filters and hygiene kits and, in some places, pumps and reservoirs should therefore take precedence in the humanitarian response.
More than 1,800 classrooms have been completely destroyed and 1,500 partially destroyed according to the Ministry of Education, which compiles a database of information coming from focal points in the field. This has left over 100,000 children without school facilities. About 57 per cent of all classrooms in the Sava region have been destroyed.
Of all children affected by the cyclone, 80 per cent are in the Sava region. The Education response is not merely a question of infrastructure rehabilitation, however; all school supplies and materials have been destroyed, and parents are responsible for replacing them. This could lead to either further impoverishment of parents or increased school drop out of children unless support is provided for the purchase of supplies.
In addition to the damages observed in Antalaha and Maroantsetra, severe but localized damages principally due to floods have been reported from a number of pockets throughout the cyclone-affected areas of the country, and will be covered by the response planned in the Flash Appeal. Meanwhile, heavy rains and the possibility floods in Antananarivo generated significant displacement of people as a preventive life-saving measure. However, as rains before a major flood occurred, the displaced have safely returned to their homes for the most part, although some particularly vulnerable families will require protection and early recovery support.
In total, nearly half of the country has been affected by the cyclone in some way, with 58 of 119 districts reporting damages. The total number of people affected – 433,985 individuals – represents 2 per cent of the total population of the affected districts. At the national level, the statistics regarding damages are summarized below.
The assessment and subsequent analysis suggest that large scale and multi-sector humanitarian activities should be prioritized in Maroantsetra, where approximately 40 per cent of the population (around 11,000 people) has been displaced by flooding in the city and neighbouring Municipalities.
In Antalaha, where the cyclone made landfall and where significant damage due to high winds as well as the rainfed rapid rise in water levels is evident, a more in-depth assessment of agricultural losses will be required, while smaller-scale multi-sector response is also undertaken in the pockets elsewhere in the country where acute humanitarian needs have been identified.
As at the time of the Flash Appeal’s publication, response activities had been initiated by the Government and humanitarian partners using in-country supplies and newly-mobilized resources, including from private sector donations to the BNGRC and by humanitarian organizations using internal emergency response procedures. Before the cyclone’s arrival, relief items had been pre-positioned in 15 districts to respond to food security, education, health, nutrition, shelter, water and sanitation, and protection needs. Additional supplies started to be deployed to Sava and Analanjirofo regions as of 10 March 2017.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.