Madagascar: Evacuations continue as Cyclone Enawo wreaks havoc across the country

8 March, 2017
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Credit: UNICEF Madagascar

Despite weakening from an intense to a moderate tropical storm, Cyclone Enawo is wreaking havoc across Madagascar and leaving a trail of destruction. Towns and cities are flooded, critical infrastructure is destroyed, including hospitals and schools, and thousands of people are now displaced.

As Enawo moves further inland, the Government’s disaster management agency (BNGRC), the United Nations and NGOs are evacuating affected people, giving life-saving information to affected communities and responding to growing humanitarian needs. A UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team has deployed to Madagascar to support the Malagasy authorities in responding to this natural disaster. Because of the heavy rains, the airport has been closed. Therefore, part of the team has not been able to arrive as yet.

Many people whose homes were flooded or destroyed are staying with relatives in more secure areas, while thousands of internally displaced people are sheltering in schools, churches and gymnasiums.

The north-eastern Sava region has sustained significant damage to housing and agriculture. Antalaha port is inaccessible and more than half of the city’s homes have been destroyed, particularly in northern areas. Farahalana commune is flooded by Lohoko River, with half of all housing under water. Farms along the famous Vanilla Coast have been wiped out, while rice fields in Antalaha and Sambava are submerged. Two school buildings have collapsed, an airport road is blocked, and more than 500 houses are flooded in the districts of Mananara Nord, Maroantsetra, Soanierana Ivongo and Vavatenina. Flood-water levels in Maroantsetra have reached four metres.

UN agencies, including FAO, UNICEF and WFP, have scaled up their presence. Weather permitting, aid supplies will arrive in Maroantsetra and the Sava region in the coming days, and an inter-agency team led by BNGRC will conduct a rapid two-day multisectoral evaluation in the area.