Aid groups assess needs in cyclone-hit Madagascar

A satellite view of Cyclone Haruna near Madagascar. Photo by: Univ.of Wisconsin / NASA / NOAA / CC BY

Aid groups are meeting today in Madagascar to discuss ongoing assessments in the country’s cyclone-hit southwestern region.

Cyclone Haruna, which struck the country Feb. 22, left 24 dead, affected more than 18,000 people and now poses risks to food security.

At least two-thirds of rice fields in the region remain flooded, according to the latest situation report on Cyclone Haruna released and sent to Devex today by the office of the U.N. resident coordinator in Madagascar. In Morombe, one of the worst-affected areas, 2,167 hectares of rice crops are inundated.

The government’s National Bureau for Risk and Disaster Management and aid groups such as CARE have carried out joint assessments, both by land and by air. Some roads, however, remain inacessible and are making it difficult for aid groups to do in-depth assessments.

Morombe ”is completely cut off,” Willem van Milink, World Food Program country representative for Madagascar, told IRIN. “We’re trying to see if we can reach people by boat.”

The so-called Logistic Cluster, which comprises humanitarian organizations that ensure “efficient and effective logistics response” in humanitarian emergencies, is working on a “common sea cargo service” that would allow the government and aid groups to transport relief by sea to Morombe. It is also contemplating the use of a hovercraft to reach isolated areas.

Some of the identified priority needs are water, sanitation, hygiene and shelter. The government declared on Feb. 26 an emergency situation in the affected areas. The office of the U.N. resident coordinator, however, has not identified the need for an emergency appeal based on initial assessments.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.