Madagascar: Humanitarian Snapshot - March 2021

Originally published



At least 4,300 people were temporarily displaced and two were killed after three tropical weather systems hit Madagascar from December 2020 to February 2021, causing flooding in several districts in the northern and western parts of the country. Tropical Storm Chalane made landfall in Fenoarivo Atsinanana (Fénérive Est in French) District on 27 December 2020, causing isolated flooding, but no significant destruction. Subsequently, Tropical Cyclone Eloise made landfall near the north-eastern coastal town of Antalaha in the evening of 19 January 2021, affecting more than 2,000 people across Antalaha, Maroantsetra, Vavatenina and Toamasina districts, displacing more than 500 people in three different communes of Maroantsetra district and killing at least one person. Continued heavy rainfall due to the last Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone from 9 to 19 February 2021 affected 1,400 people and displaced around 860 in Analamanga, Melaky and Menabe Regions.

From November 2020 to January 2021, the Grand Sud was affected by the most severe drought since 1981, coinciding with the agriculture planting season, according to WFP. A preliminary assessment conducted jointly by WFP/FAO, BNGRC and Ministry of Agriculture in February 2021 showed at least 60 per cent of loss of crops in April/May 2021 compared with the 5 years average and this situation will extend the crisis beyond June 2021.

People in the Grand Sud of Madagascar are now facing the peak of the hunger gap season. An estimated 1.14 million people in the Grand Sud and 203,453 in the south-east of the country will be severely food insecure (IPC phases 3 and 4) from January to April 2021, according to the last Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis.

While the same assessment mentioned above has identified 95,000 additional people on severe food insecure. Admissions of children for moderate and severe acute malnutrition rose sharply in the fourth quarter of 2020 and field reports indicate a further increase in the first quarter of 2021. As hunger rises, people are resorting to desperate feeding practices, such as eating clay mixed with tamarind, termites, wild tubers, or unripe mangoes, according to ACF. Due to the desperate situation, around 4,000 people—including more than 1,000 children—have displaced to several districts (Taolagnaro, Betroka and Ampanihy) since January 2021 in search of assistance and support.

Across the country, multiple communities continue to report above-average malaria cases and COVID-19 cases have increased. More than 2 million cases of malaria were recorded in 2020, including 642 deaths, and malaria cases increased from November 2020 in several communes in 16 regions. Meanwhile, the country has entered its second wave of COVID-19. The positivity rate rose from 7.2 per cent in January to 15.4 per cent in February. Since the beginning of the outbreak, 23,230 cases, including 378 deaths were recorded, of which 5,117 cases were reported during 2021. Two cities—Mahajanga and Nosy Be—have been placed under containment to control the disease’s spread.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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