Saturday, July 19, 2008

Responding to disaster in Madagascar, via UN Regional Information Networks: In Madagascar, where community resilience and livelihoods are continuously eroded by cyclones, floods and drought, the gap between emergency humanitarian action and development assistance can become too wide to cross. "When the question is not, 'if disaster will strike; but where, how long and how often?", there is little time to help communities back on their feet, Christophe Legrand, Early Recovery and Disaster Risk Management Advisor at the UN Development programme in Madagascar, told IRIN.

Over 100 people died when the Indian Ocean island was hit by cyclones Fame, Jokwe and Ivan earlier in 2008. The powerful winds, heavy rains and flooding affected over 340,000 people, of whom 190,000 lost their homes. There were six cyclones in 2007 - the worst year on record - while drought in the parched south has persisted for several years.

…A Joint Damages, Losses and Needs Assessment (JDLNA), conducted after this year's cyclone season by the government, UN agencies and the World Bank to assure efficient transition from emergency to development, estimated cyclone-related losses at US$334.9 million.

The agriculture, fisheries and livestock sectors suffered the greatest damage, followed by housing and public administration and transport, the report said, adding that "These sectors are crucial to the livelihoods of the poor in Madagascar, and the impact from the storms has increased the vulnerabilities of large portions of the population."

…But recovery comes at a cost. A paper on the 2008 Cyclones in Madagascar - Early Recovery Consolidated Strategy and Financial Needs, presented to UN agencies, government officials and humanitarian and development partners in the capital, Antananarivo, on 18 July by the UN Resident Coordinator's Office, estimated financial needs at $32.7 million….

Map of Madagascar from the CIA World Factbook, Wikimedia Commons

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