UNICEF Situation Report Madagascar - External 06 Apr

Situation Report
Originally published

Intense tropical storm Jaya, which hit Madagascar on the northeastern coast on 3 April, left the country on 4 April after crossing the whole northern tip of Madagascar from east to west. The immediate impact has been heavy rainfalls and ensuing flooding, mainly in the northeastern regions. Up to now, the area of Maroantsetra has been the most affected with four municipalities currently swamped (underwater), affecting approximately 60,000 people. Sixty wells that had been previously polluted are spoiled again. The airport is flooded and still closed. Transport by boat remains difficult until the floods recede. In Sambava one death has been reported, the health center was destroyed, and flooding damaged traditional houses and one of the main roads. The region of Sambava requires urgent sanitation. Madagascar and northern Mozambique are still at risk; Jaya has reemerged over the open waters of the Mozambique Channel, where it may once again turn into a tropical cyclone.

In all affected regions, a total of 426 primary schools have been damaged and 41 were totally destroyed, according to the Ministry of Education. UNICEF has put nine educational intervention zones in place in four regions to respond to the needs of about 30 percent of concerned schoolchildren (132 schools). The UNICEF base in Antsohihy is now also operational.


Indlala has affected 138,000 people, of which 31,000 are still homeless according to the latest estimates from the National Bureau for Risk and Catastrophe Management (BNGRC), dated 3 April.

The greatest concern remains the damage to infrastructure (roads, bridges and airstrips) that is hampering access to victims, health centres, schools and basic services and poses logistical challenges to relief efforts.

Situation in the four northern regions affected by Indlala and Jaya

Sava Region (northeast)

Main district Antalaha counts 9,700 affected people and over 850 homeless according to the BNGRC. Analjirofo Region (northeast)

Jaya has affected 60,000 additional people through flooding and 60 wells are spoiled again. Relief operations are limited to small transportation by boats as the main road has been damaged and the airport strip flooded. Before Jaya, Maroantsetra was already one of the most affected districts throughout the north by Indlala. The latest government estimates indicate 45,000 affected people and almost 28,000 homeless. In terms of infrastructure, with 48 primary schools damaged and nine totally destroyed, the impact on children's access to education is the worst of all affected Indlala regions. Enabling children to go back to school in acceptable conditions is therefore UNICEF's priority in this district/region. This is complementary to the relief operations carried out in this area by various NGOs (CARE, MDM, Red Cross) and WFP, which concentrate on food distribution, health care and sanitation conditions.

Diana Region (north)

The latest estimates from BNGRC mention over 30,000 severely affected people in this region, which represents up to 50 percent of the population for some communes of Ambanja. In terms of agriculture, losses have impacted 3,780 ha of agricultural land and 1,500 stocks. Thirteen primary schools have been damaged and four totally destroyed, leaving almost 1,200 children unable to attend school. Roads and bridges have been destroyed or flooded, making it very difficult to reach the affected population. The immediate urgency is the state of the bore-wells - the majority of which are flooded - and the lack of safe drinking water. People are drinking water from the rivers and water purificators are therefore needed.

Situation in the Sofia Region (northwest)

The latest assessments from the government (BNRGC) indicate 32,000 affected people, of whom 322 are still homeless. The significant decrease in the number of homeless is due to the fact that many have found temporary shelter amongst relief operations, neighbors and relatives. Field reports indicate that a total of 41 municipalities and 94 villages have been affected throughout the seven districts. An estimated 81 public buildings are damaged, of which 41 are primary schools. Three other schools have been totally destroyed. In total, Sofia's children have lost 16 percent of their schools. Out of 137 health centres in this region, 30 (or 22 percent) have been damaged.

UNICEF and WFP are coordinating all distribution and health efforts with the local and regional authorities. Despite very difficult access to most remote villages, the distribution plan of relief NFI and food items is now finalised. Four different axes have been defined, but another helicopter will be needed to serve at least 6,075 people in four districts and 13 communes since the limited capacity of the helicopter in use (200 to 300 kg are allowed per flight) cannot cover the totality of the needs. BNGRC has asked WFP to bring an additional helicopter MI-8 to speed up delivery to isolated communes.

Situation in the Vatovavy Fitovinany Region

The southeast is currently the region facing the most serious nutritional risks. A joint assessment mission, which includes local organisations, is currently ongoing with MoH, NON, and NGOs.


Set-up of coordination and logistic base in Antsohihy and Ambanja last week:

- Boat and flight supply delivery and reception

- Continuous assessments in affected villages

- Elaboration of distribution plan for food and NFI with Red Cross, regional authorities and WFP

- Elaboration of baseline data for the monitoring of the general intervention

- Distribution of first aid items for about 4,000 beneficiaries (protein biscuits, water purification tablets, soap, mosquito nets, food)

- Food distribution is being accelerated

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

- Distribution of WASHE supplies in Ambanja and Antsohihy continues.

Health and Nutrition

In all the flood-affected regions, to prevent increased maternal and child mortality, MoH and UNICEF are reinforcing the groundwork to ensure that at least 85 percent of target groups (children, pregnant and lactating women) are supplemented with Vitamin A, de-wormed and receive basic immunization during the Mother Child Week (MCHW) (23-27 April). A measles campaign is being organized in the same affected zones to reinforce the MCHW .

To reinforce the health emergency response, a Public Health Specialist joined the Antsohihy field team on 4 April. Moreover, to help health centers/health personnel in the affected zones to respond to morbidities, discussions with the Emergency and Catastrophe Department (SUCA) of the MoH are underway for a joint planning of emergency drugs and health supplies to be deployed to the concerned affected areas/field.



In the Anosy and Androy regions the nutrition situation is not improving. Six medical mobile teams have been working on the emergency response since January 2007. Four hundred and two children under five are currently under treatment for severe acute malnutrition (of which 100 were diagnosed in March). Among the 2,430 children on treatment for moderate malnutrition, 78 now have a severe malnutrition status and only 247 were discharged as cured.


UNICEF's first priority is to enable access to education for affected children in the most acceptable conditions possible (school tents or real buildings, school kits and new structured material according to the curriculum). The schoolchildren of 132 primary schools in the North (Four DREN and 10 CISCO: Ambanja, Ambilobe, Vohémar, Sambava, Antsohihy, Mandritsara, Port Bergé, Mampikony, Analalava and Maroantsetra) are concerned. Of these, 20 schools are completely destroyed and will be prioritized for reconstruction. Twenty classroom tents will facilitate the return to school. Five have been set up in Mahajunga, one is currently set up in Antananarivo and the rest will be set up in the north. UNICEF has supported and continues to support training in emergency preparation and response for education officials.

Inter-Agency Collaboration and Key Partnerships

The UN Resident Coordinator asked HQ for support to officially adopt the Cluster Approach. It will be implemented for Nutrition and WASH with UNICEF as cluster lead agency.