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Madagascar: Tropical Cyclone Enawo likely to affect 760,000 people

07 Mar 2017


Tropical Cyclone Enawo struck north-eastern Madagascar at around 10.30 a.m. on 7 March 2017, travelling at an average speed of over 200 km per hour with peaks of 300 km per hour. About 760,000 people are likely to be directly affected and nine regions are at a high risk of flooding or damage from strong winds. The eye of the cyclone, as of noon (EAT) on 7 March, was at Antalaha commune, in north-eastern Madagascar. Enawo appears similar to Cyclone Ivan, which in 2008 affected 525,000 people and displaced 195,000 people.  

The regions more at risk are Analanjirofo, Sava and Atsinanana. However, the cyclone is also threatening Madagascar's capital Antananarivo, home to more than 1 million people, as flooding and water stagnation could lead to outbreaks of life-threatening waterborne diseases. Madagascar is already suffering from severe drought, particularly in the south of country, which left more than 850,000 people severely food insecure. Water consumption in Madagascar had already declined to one liter per person per day in drought-affected districts, and water scarcity across the affected regions remains critical. Yet the Action plan for Southern Africa, which requested US$155 million to address the needs of 978,000 people in Madagascar, remains severely underfunded.

OCHA has deployed an UNDAC (UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination) team, due to arrive in Madagascar today. Meanwhile, the United Nations and partners are working closely with the Government’s office of national disaster and risk management (BNGRC) to respond to the immediate humanitarian needs. UN agencies, including UNICEF, WFP, and FAO, have scaled up their presence to support the Government in responding to the potentially devastating humanitarian impacts of this natural disaster.