Saturday, November 28, 2009

Preparing for cyclones in Madagascar via IRIN: Two near misses by huge storms rolling in from the Indian Ocean have signalled an early start to Madagascar's cyclone season, prompting the humanitarian community to appeal for "urgent" preparedness funding. Meteorologists forecast that four to five intense cyclones could strike Madagascar during the 2009/10 season.

The approaching Tropical Storm Bongani, hot on the heels of Cyclone Anja in mid-November, provided a wake-up call for aid agencies and the partly paralyzed national disaster management authority.

A UN Country Team statement on 25 November "raised concern over the approaching cyclone season that could seriously affect the lives of up to 600,000 people", and appealed for US$6 million "to be used for pre-positioning stocks in the most vulnerable regions of the country".

The concept of preparedness is not new to Madagascar. The island lies in the main path of storms crossing the Western Indian Ocean and is battered by cyclones every year; five have struck it in the last two years, affecting over 463,000 people.

…The focus had started shifting from a reactive approach - limited to response and recovery after an event - to a more comprehensive approach centred on preparedness. "We can see the payoff of prepositioning stocks ahead of the cyclone season. This has made it possible to help victims immediately," IRIN quoted Colonel Jean Rakotomalala, then Executive Secretary of the disaster response agency, BNGRC, who stressed the importance of recent investments in disaster risk reduction in January 2009....

Locator map of Madagascar by Vardion, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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