Madagascar

Madagascar: Cyclones, Heavy Rains, and Storms - Information Bulletin n° 1

The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 185 countries.

In Brief

This Bulletin (no. 1/2006) is being issued for information only, and reflects the situation and the information available at this time. The Federation is not seeking funding or other assistance from donors for this operation at this time.

Activities undertaken are aligned with the International Federation's Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

The Situation

As Madagascar's cyclone season gets underway, Cyclone Bondo made landfall on the north-western coast in the afternoon of 25 December 2006 and landed as a severe tropical storm in Mariarano, a small town 50 km north-east of Mahajanga. At that time, strong winds with gusts up to 150 km/h and heavy rains were recorded in the region. After landing on the coast, the storm moved south-south-west across western Madagascar, losing much of its intensity. The Cyclone has now been downgraded to a tropical disturbance as it has moved to the Mozambican Channel. Apparently, surrounding conditions are not propitious for its re-in tensification and Bondo is no more a threat.

Reliable reports received so far indicate that one person is missing and 39 families (approximately 304 persons) have been rendered homeless in Mahajanga, which is them ain urban centre of the North-Western Region. The city has been without electricity and water supply since the afternoon of 25 December 2006. In addition, part of the phone network was affected and became inoperative.

In the meantime, meteorologists have warned of the formation of a new system to the north-east of Madagascar. The system is currently at the stage of tropical disturbance (with pressure at the centre estimated at 1003 hPa, average wind speed of 37km/h and gusts at sea of 52 km/h) and is movin g slowly west-south-west. Forecasts indicate that it is likely to intensify gradually.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

The Malagasy Red Cross Society (MRCS), the Malagasy government and partners have initiated the process of comprehensively assessing the damage caused by the storm. However, communications with Mariarano, where the storm made a landfall, was not possible as the phone network was inoperative as of yesterday, 27 December 2006.

In Mahajanga, the authorities are in the process of restoring essential services and providing temporary assistance to those left homeless. They are doing so using emergency relief items pre-positioned as part of preparedness arrangements.

On 26 December, two assessment teams - including representatives form Le Conseil Nati onal de Secours (CNS) which is the national disaster management body, MRCS and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) - travelled by road from Antananarivo to Mahajanga. A third team was scheduled to depart from Antananarivo, by helicopter, on 27 December to assess areas affected in the rest of North-Western Region. The mission, which comprises representatives from CNS, CARE, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Food Programme (WFP), is expected to visit various parts of the region within two days.

The CNS will organize a stakeholders meeting on Friday 29 December 2006 to review the situation. The meeting will use assessment results to agree on a response plan. Further action will be based on the outcome of this meeting. Based on the MRCS assessment findings, it is possible that Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) may be used to assure a rapid response to provide humanitarian assistance to the people affected by the storm.

For further information please contact:

In Madagascar: Ratsimbazafy Fanja Nantenaina, Secretary General, Malagasy Red Cross Society, Antananarivo; Email: crm@dts.mg; Phone +261.20.222.21.11; Fax +261.20.226.67.39

In Mauritius: Susanna Cunningham, Head of Sub-Regional Office for the Indian Ocean Islands, Mauritius, Email: susanna.cunningham@ifrc.org; Phone +230.454.69.34; Mobile +230.252.08.55

In Kenya: Per Jensnäs, Federation Head of East Africa Regional Delegation, Nairobi; Email: per.jensnaes@ifrc.org; Phone + 254.20.283.51.24; Fax + 254.20.271.84.15 or Charles Byamugisha, Regional Disaster Management Coordinator, Email: charlesgodfrey.byamugisha@ifrc.org; Phone +254.20.283.51.17; Fax + 254.20.271.27.77

In Geneva: Amna Al Ahmar, Federation Regional Officer for East Africa, Africa Dept.; Email: amna.alahmar@ifrc.org; Phone +41.22.730.44.27; Fax +41.22.733.03.95

All International Federation assistances eeks to adhere to the Code of Conductf or the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response(Sp here) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org