Madagascar Cyclone Gretelle Situation Report No.2

from UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 29 Jan 1997

1. The UN Resident Coordinator in Antananarivo reports that a donor meeting was organized this morning by the Malagasy Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which an emergency situation, caused by Cyclone Gretelle, was declared and a call for international assistance was reiterated.

2. According to the Government report, Cyclone Gretelle passed through the southeastern part of Madagascar on 20-26 January, at the speed of 220 km per hour. Rains had fallen intermittently in this area since earlier in the year, especially after the passage of Cyclone Fabriola on 3-8 January. Further affected by torrential rains caused by Cyclone Gretelle, the entire southern part of the country is now declared by the Government as the disaster affected area.

3. The Government's preliminary estimates indicate a total of 13 deaths (2 in Manakara, 3 in Farafangana, 6 in Vangaindrano, and 2 in Vohipeno) and 100 persons missing in Vangaindrano. 32,566 persons are reported to be affected (3,566 in Manakara and 29,000 in Farafangana). About ten persons were injured in Farafangana, and 6 in Manakara.

4. Cyclone Gretelle damaged thousands of hectares of crops as well as infrastructure (roads, telephone links, electricity, and water stations). Heavy damage was also caused to houses and buildings. In Vondrozo, 95 percent of houses and buildings have been destroyed. In Manakara, 666 houses were damaged, and 872 destroyed. In Farafangana, 53 percent of private buildings were damaged (including 45 percent destroyed), as well as 90 percent of administrative buildings. In southern Midongy and Vangaindrano, nearly all buildings were destroyed.


5. The Government-appointed National Relief Committee (NRC) is coordinating relief activities with the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs as well as with the international community present in Madagascar. On 27 January, NRC organized an assessment over-flight to the affected area, in which UNDP/DHA participated, together with other donor representatives.

6. Assistance provided so far by the Government include: rice, iron sheets and nails, and the re-establishment of telephone links with Manakara.

7. The Government organized a televised fund-raising event on 27 January, which resulted in more than 130 million FMG (approximately USD 30,000), primarily from Malagasy individuals.

8. Center of operations will be established in the town of Farafangana.


9. In addition to DHA's emergency grant of USD 30,000, the UN Resident Coordinator informs that pledges, or commitments for funding, have been announced so far by: the Governments of Germany, Japan, France, the United Kingdom (USD 100,000), Switzerland, and the United States (USD 25,000, as well as 500 tons of food), as well as UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, MSF France, and CARE International.

10. Relief items are reported to be provided by the following organizations: MSF France, CARE International, UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, ADRA, Malagasy Red Cross, and the Government of France.

11. UNICEF, together with some NGOs, is providing food, medicines, and other basic relief materials. WFP has offered to assist the Government in food distribution.

12. France has sent to Farafangana, from Reunion, a Transall transport plane with one helicopter and a team of relief experts (doctors, engineers, firemen, and journalists).


13. The Government's preliminary report indicates immediate relief needs to be rice, pharmaceutical products, blankets, corrugated iron sheets, nails, and other basic construction materials. Also indicated are assistance needs for reparation and rehabilitation of damaged socio-economic infrastructure (roads, schools, hospitals, churches, and administrative buildings). Further details on the requirements shall be provided as soon as available.

14. A joint evaluation team (composed of the Government/NRC, UNDP, UNICEF, FAO, USAID, CARE, MSF, Malagasy Red Cross) is expected to leave shortly for Farafangana, and the results of its assessments are expected by 4 February. A second in-depth evaluation is scheduled to take place in the following weeks.

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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. Kayo 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
Fax: +41-22-917-0023
E-Mail: dhagva at