UN allocates over $6 million for Madagascar aid efforts

The United Nations humanitarian arm said today it has allocated $6.45 million to help 190,000 people in the rural southern regions of Madagascar who are suffering from the combined effects of drought, cyclones, and political instability.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the money would be shared by the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) for emergency work in the island nation.

Madagascar has suffered the effects of multiple crises this year, OCHA said, including drought, crop failure, cyclones and a period of political instability marked by violence. The political instability slowed the delivery of basic services and aid, and severely affected industry and other livelihood sources, including tourism.

WFP will use $3.8 million for three-month programmes to reduce malnutrition and mortality rates, OCHA said. UNICEF will use its $1.5 million to distribute emergency water and sanitation supplies, provide hygiene kits and assist local authorities in monitoring emergency safe water interventions.

The agency will also work with the World Health Organization (WHO) to improve vulnerable peoples' access to health care and to control outbreaks of water-borne diseases.

The remainder of the allocation will go to FAO programmes for planting short-cycle crops such as cassava to be available in the next harvest season, and to UNFPA for improving access to reproductive health interventions, OCHA said.