INTERNATIONAL APPEAL FOR ASSISTANCE
1. An extremely powerful cyclone hit the south-eastern part of Madagascar from the night of 24 over to 25 January 1997, ravaging several counties in the region including the towns of Vangaidrano, Vohipeno and Farafangana. Vangaidrano was the hardest hit, where the maximum wind speed of more than 200 KM/H was recorded.
2. The Government reports preliminarily that 12 persons have been killed, approximately 100 persons are missing, and several thousand persons have been left homeless. A large number of houses are reported to have been destroyed. Further information on the damage is being collected.
3. The Government held a National Relief Committee emergency meeting, which was chaired by the Minister of Interior, and was attended by the UN Resident Coordinator to represent the donor community. The Committee decided to organize on 27 January an assessment overflight to the affected areas. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, UN Resident Coordinator, and representatives of CARE International and the Embassies of US and France are to participate in the overflight. The team is expected to come back to the capital in the afternoon of the same day.
4. The Vice Prime Minister has already flown to an affected area on 26 January to facilitate the emergency provision of rice. Some NGOs including Madagascar Red Cross have started the process of transporting basic relief items.
5. In view of limited means of response at its disposal, the Government of Madagascar has launched an international appeal for assistance. The Government has requested DHA to address the needs of the population affected by this sudden disaster, and to alert and mobilize the international community.
6. Due to the destruction of the communication means, details of the needs have not yet been identified. However, needs in shelter items (blankets and tents) and medicaments have been indicated. Upon return of the above-mentioned assessment overflight, more specifics are expected to be known.
7. DHA has decided to release an Emergency Grant of USD 30,000 as an initial contribution to address immediate needs. Pending more information on the situation, the possibility of a further contribution will be reviewed.
8. DHA is prepared to serve as a channel for cash contributions to be used during the immediate relief phase. Funds are spent in coordination with relevant organizations of the UN system, and DHA provides donor Governments with written confirmation on utilizations of the funds contributed.
9. Funds should be transferred to DHA account no. CO.590.160.1 at Swiss Bank Corporation, Case Postale 2770, CH-1211 Geneva 2, with reference: Madagascar - Cyclone Gretelle.
10. For coordination purposes, donors are requested to inform DHA Geneva, as indicated below, of bilateral relief missions/ pledges/ contributions and their corresponding values by item.
Telephone number: +41-22-917-1234
In case of emergency only: +41-22-917-2010
Desk Officer: Ms. Kayoko Gotoh, direct tel: +41-22-917-1258
Press to contact: Ms. M. Moulin-Acevedo, direct tel: +41-22-917-2856
Telex: 41 42 42 dha ch
E-Mail: dha gva at un.org