Madagascar is recovering from one deadly cyclone while preparing for another

Tropical Cyclone Batsirai is likely to make landfall in Madagascar within the next few hours, putting lives, livelihoods, and critical crops at risk. Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) cautioned on Friday that the island nation off the coast of East Africa is still reeling from the impact of Storm Ana last month.

As WFP Deputy Regional Director Margaret Malu explained, “regular cyclones throughout the agricultural season mean loss of harvest, rising food costs and increased food insecurity.”

Prepared: WFP

WFP is prepared for the arrival of Cyclone Batsirai, two weeks after Storm Ana swept across Madagascar, Mozambique, and Malawi, bringing catastrophic floods, destruction to houses and public infrastructure, and displacing populations.

As a humanitarian aid agency, the World Food Program (WFP) is on the ground and ready to give logistical support to governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the event of flooding, Ms. Malu said.

To help in the event of a crisis, we’ve also prepared food in advance.

Supplies of food are “under considerable jeopardy.”

The World Food Program (WFP) is providing logistical support to search and rescue operations, conducting needs assessments, and coordinating food shipments in response to Storm Ana.

Pasqualina Di Sirio, WFP Country Director in Madagascar, said that “the floods and terrible weather have not only ruined homes and damaged property, but above all, they have decimated the livelihoods and sources of income of the affected communities”.

In the meantime, the UN agency continues, where possible, to distribute food during the lean season and to run school lunch programmes.

Their food security is in grave danger, as Ms. Di Sirio confirmed. Families currently in utter destitution will see their living conditions deteriorate if urgent aid is not provided until their situation improves. “

The incidence of severe weather is on the rise

Relief operations in the wake of Storm Ana, which impacted not just Madagascar but also Mozambique and Malawi, could be jeopardised by Cyclone Batsirai. Vulnerable communities are still reeling from the devastating effects of Cyclone Idai that struck in 2019.

WFP reports that cyclones, one of the most destructive and frequent natural disasters in Southern Africa, are becoming more often and more intense, increasing hunger and undermining progress while wreaking havoc in a matter of hours.

During the current cyclone season, which spans from October to May, eight to twelve tropical systems are forecast.

To ensure long-term food security and better prepare communities to face future shocks, WFP has implemented a variety of drought-resistant farming practises and rehabilitated forests as part of its resilience programmes.

In the wake of Storm Ana, the UN humanitarian office, OCHA, is assisting the government in mobilising aid for individuals displaced by flooding.

This comprises monetary aid, food, water, sanitation, and hygiene supplies, as well as medical care, security, and camp administration services at the locations of relocation.

Batsirai is coming!

At the same time, OCHA is stepping up preparations for Tropical Cyclone Batsirai, which is projected to make landfall on Madagascar’s east coast as an Intense Tropical Cyclone soon and cause widespread havoc.

According to the International Red Cross, Batsirai has already passed through Mauritius, where it left one person dead, 138 people in shelters, and at least 1,600 families without electricity.

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