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Madagascar Flash Appeal 2008
Cyclones Fame and Ivan have affected more than 239 000 people in Madagascar. Striking only three weeks apart (27 January and 17 February, respectively), the cyclones triggered torrential rains and flooding that caused extensive damage to homes, infrastructure, lives and livelihoods. Approximately 148 000 people are without shelter, let alone the productive assets necessary to recover their losses.
The Malagasy are among the world’s poorest populations, with an estimated 70 percent living on less than US$1 per day. The crisis has compounded already acute levels of underlying vulnerability, particularly in northeastern and northwestern areas.
The overlap between the country’s lean period, when food reserves are most scarce, and the cyclone season intensifies the likelihood for food insecurity to surpass already critical levels. Recent assessments reveal that the food stock of an estimated 200 000 people have been lost to the floods and up to 90 percent of families living on crop plantations may soon face acute food insecurity.
The Madagascar Flash Appeal 2008 was launched on 3 March to support Government efforts to respond to the immediate and early recovery needs of over 239 000 people in urgent need of assistance.
Challenges facing food security and livelihoods
Approximately 80 percent of Madagascar’s population depends on agriculture-related activities for income and, for many, as a means to provide food for their families. The torrential rainfall and flooding triggered by Cyclones Fame and Ivan inundated important farming areas in the northeast and northwest. It is estimated that almost 80 percent of expected production has been affected and will suffer partial or total losses.
Further to the country’s underlying vulnerability to frequent climatic hazards – including chronic drought, flooding and recurrent cyclones – the crisis struck during the lean season, spanning from February to May.
Moreover, the impact of the cyclones will potentially resonate until December as recently planted crops due for harvest in May/June will be severely hampered, stretching the lean season and food insecurity until the secondary harvest at year’s end.
Rural communities are in urgent need of livelihood production inputs – including seeds, fertilizers and agricultural tools – in order to increase their food production levels and purchasing power during this critical time. With agriculture as a means to sustainably improve household nutrition and food security, rehabilitation of the sector will be key to strengthening the capacity of rural populations to recover from present as well as future shocks.
FAO in Madagascar
Under the Madagascar Flash Appeal 2008, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) aims to restore agricultural production among farming households most affected by the recent cyclones and resulting floods. As the lead agency in the agriculture sector, FAO will continue its coordination role among humanitarian partners to ensure technically sound interventions, avoid overlap, and maximize the synergies of agricultural interventions and their outcomes.
Within the framework of the Madagascar Flash Appeal 2008, FAO’s main objective is to protect rural livelihoods through:
- providing seeds and agricultural tools;
- creating a seed multiplication/crop diversification structure to avoid repeated distributions;
- rehabilitating agricultural infrastructure in cooperation with food-for-work programmes;
- preparing more detailed damage assessments; and
- maximizing efficiency and effectiveness of agricultural relief programmes through increased coordination and local participation, provision of technical advice and monitoring and evaluation of relief actions.
As part of the Madagascar Flash Appeal 2008, FAO appealed for US$1 million. Unmet funding amounts to US$744 338.