Humanitarian aid for the victims of flooding in Madagascar

Situation Report
Originally published


Amount of Decision: EUR 1,500,000

Decision reference number: ECHO/MDG/BUD/2007/01000

Explanatory Memorandum

1 - Rationale, needs and target population.

1.1. - Rationale:

Madagascar, an island off the southeast coast of Africa, east of Mozambique, suffers periodically the impact of cyclones while the southern part of the island is regularly affected by drought. The climate of Madagascar is tropical along the coast, temperate inland, and arid in the south. The weather is dominated by the southeastern winds that originate in the Indian Ocean anticyclone, a center of high atmospheric pressure that seasonally changes its position over the ocean. The east coast, being most directly exposed to the winds, is notorious for the destructive cyclones that occur during the rainy season, from November to April. Since December 2006, various regions of Madagascar were hit by cyclone Bondo, tropical storms Clovis, Enok, Favio and cyclone Gamede, which caused an exceptionally heavy rainfall affecting, in particular, the infrastructures of communication, health and agriculture. In the meantime, this year's rainy season has brought exceptional rains to most of the island. These conditions have contributed to heavy flooding in large, populated and cultivated areas throughout the country, resulting in over 90,000 hectares of agricultural land affected(1), over 85,000 metric tones (MT) of rice harvest lost (against an annual production of approximately 3,600,000 MT) and at least 33,000 displaced people. Considering the gravity of the damage caused by this extreme weather, the Malagasy government declared the state of disaster on all of its territory and launched, on 20 February, a call for international assistance. The resources required to meet the immediate needs were estimated at 87,409,000 USD by the Malagasy BN GRC (Bureau National de Gestion des Risques et Catastrophes).

The flooding in Madagascar also increased the potential for a resurgence of water-borne diseases, such as cholera and malaria. Cholera risks have been identified in the North of the country, following the current outbreak in Comoros. In the flooded Mahajanga port and the nearby town of Marovoay, in the delta of Betsiboka river, the approximately 8,000 displaced people accommodated in temporary settlements with insufficient water and sanitation facilities, add to the risk of an easy spread of cholera.

As the cyclone season is still in full force, the situation could deteriorate further. The extremely heavy rains over much of southern Africa over this rainy season have resulted in serious flooding, also in Angola, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.

In addition, Madagascar is already dealing with a food insecurity problem (since September 2006) prevailing in the south of the country. Some 40 communes have been declared to be in a difficult food security condition, with their population currently receiving food aid and nutritional support. Food security will be a major concern for the country for the next months.


(1) This corresponds to approximately 4.5% of total permanently cultivated land in the country. Only 5.2 percent (3 million hectares) of the country's total land area of 58.2 million hectares is under cultivation; of this hectarage, 2.1 million hectares are being permanently cultivated.