Foreword by the United Nations Resident Coordinator
Just as Madagascar’s Grand Sud was beginning to recover from its worst drought in 40 years, eight districts in the country’s Grand Sud-Est were badly hit by two consecutive cyclones in February 2022. After consecutive acute droughts (December 2019 – February 2020 and November 2020 – January 2021) in the Grand Sud, resulting in catastrophic levels of food insecurity (IPC phase 5) in Madagascar, an expansion of humanitarian assistance in 2021 combined with a relatively good rain season 2021-2022 the situation improved significantly. However, during that time, two tropical cyclones, Batsirai and Emnati, struck eight districts in the country’s Grand Sud-Est, increasing humanitarian needs in the affected areas.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Government of Madagascar for their leadership in addressing the nearly two-year humanitarian crisis in the Grand Sud and in responding to tropical cyclones Batsirai and Emnati.
The national response plan has been revised twice under the direction of the National Disaster Risk Management Office (BNGRC). The last revision, in May 2022, took into account both drought-induced needs in the Grand Sud and cyclone-induced needs in the Sud-Est. The revised plan aims to deliver multi-sectoral emergency assistance to 2.1 million people in Grand Sud and Sud-est over the next six months (June to December 2022) while respecting the foundation for longer-term resilience and development.
Complementing the extension of the national plan, and in consultation with national authorities, we have revised, expanded and broadened the Humanitarian Flash Appeal to mobilize additional resources for life-saving response to drought and cyclone-affected areas by the end of 2022. This third version of the Flash Appeal is calling for an additional $154.7 million over the next six months and is targeting 1.9 million people to complement the government’s response. The goal is to provide: 1.9 million people with food aid, 1.3 million people with access to safe drinking water, 58,000 malnourished children and 22,000 pregnant and lactating women with nutritional support, 310,000 people with free basic health services, 14,600 pregnant women with health care , and 1 million people with access to water, as well as shelter support and support for women at risk of gender-based violence (GBV) and children at risk of protection.
Despite its humanitarian nature, this third version of the appeal emphasizes a resilience approach that takes into account the specific needs of communities in areas affected by drought and cyclones. In addition, actions undertaken under this call will continue to support existing government structures, notably the BNGRC, the Nutritional and Medical Rehabilitation Centers (CRNM) and the Food Bank.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every donor who has helped fund consecutive appeals since it began in January 2021. The expanded appeal (from January 2021 to May 2022) is now 81 percent funded, a level never before seen in the region, demonstrating the strong solidarity and commitment of international partners in support of the people and communities of the Grand Sud.
Your support has enabled a massive expansion of humanitarian response, which has played a key role in preventing the risk of hunger identified in the Grand Sud in June 2021. Humanitarian partners provided critical assistance and protection to 1.1 million of the 1.3 million people affected between January 2021 and May 2022. For the first time in history, the drought response mobilized air support to reach very hard-to-reach areas. Also, from January to September 2021, there was a 67 percent increase in humanitarian workers in the Grand Sud, while four humanitarian groups (Food Security and Livelihoods, Nutrition, LAUNDRY and Health) were activated in response.
As the second half of the year begins, it is critical that we continue our humanitarian response to save lives, restore livelihoods and build resilience in drought- and cyclone-hit communities in Madagascar’s Grand Sud and Grand Sud-est.
Together, in support of the government’s response, we can ensure that people whose lives have been threatened by drought and hurricanes can end this year in much better shape than they started it. We count on your generous support.
Resident Coordinator for Madagascar
As people in Madagascar’s Grand Sud gradually emerged from the worst drought in more than 40 years, six tropical weather systems hit the country from January to April 2022, killing at least 214 people and affecting about 571,100. On January 17, 2022, Tropical Storm Ana made landfall in Madagascar, bringing heavy rains and flooding that affected approximately 131,500 people and killed 55, mostly in the central and northern parts of the country. Subsequently, Tropical Cyclone Batsirai made landfall near the city of Mananjary on February 5 – affecting the regions of Atsimo Atsinanana, Vatovavy and Fitovinany – and Tropical Cyclone Emnati made landfall south of the city of Manakara on February 23, affecting the same areas . Between these two cyclones, Tropical Storm Dumako struck near Sainte Marie in Madagascar’s Analanjirofo region on February 15, causing flooding in the northeastern regions and killing 14 people. Tropical Storm Gombe then made landfall on March 8 without significant damage, followed by moderate Tropical Storm Jasmine, which affected more than 4,800 people and killed 5 in the southern part of Madagascar after arriving on April 26.
The country’s Grand Sud-Est – made up of the Vatovavy, Fitovavy and Atsimo Atsinanana regions – was hardest hit by the severe weather as tropical cyclones Batsirai and Emnati made landfall within two weeks. The two cyclones affected 423,800 people, including 121 people killed by Batsirai and 15 by Emnati.
Livelihoods in the region – which is normally relatively food-secure – have been decimated, with 70 percent of households reporting damage in the rice-growing areas of Nosy Varika and Vohipeno, 80 percent reporting fruit harvest losses, and 100 percent reporting cash crop losses, including coffee, vanilla and cloves. The hurricanes also caused significant damage, with lost production and damage estimated at over $160 million, including loss of household livelihoods, housing infrastructure, and community school infrastructure.
Food insecurity has increased in Grand Sud-Est due to the impact of the cyclones, with five of the six districts in the Grand Sud-Est region expected to be in crisis (IPC phase 3) from April to August 2022. This is the first time a crisis (IPC phase 3) and more food insecurity has been projected in Grand Sud-Est, where food insecurity does not normally rise above stress levels (IPC phase 2). Around 67,000 people are in an emergency (IPC phase 4). According to the agricultural sector, 492,000 people will need immediate post-harvest assistance as part of the agricultural recovery.
Meanwhile, the situation remains precarious in the Grand Sud, which has been hit by consecutive droughts in the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 rainy seasons. After a major expansion in humanitarian assistance, food insecurity and malnutrition in the Grand Sud improved in the first half of 2022, which is particularly notable as this coincided with the peak of the lean season. No district is in an emergency (IPC Phase 4) May through November 2022, according to the latest analysis of the Integrated Food Insecurity Classification (IPC) and the number of people in the Grand Sud exposed to IPC Phase 3 and higher , has fallen from more than 1.1 million people in 2021 to just over 1 million from April to August 2022. Likewise, global acute malnutrition (GAM) rates in the most drought-affected areas fell to 8.4 percent ( from 9.2 percent in September 2021) and severe acute malnutrition was 0.7 percent. However, the situation remains fragile as 7 out of 10 districts remain in food insecurity of crisis (IPC phase 3) and the number of people in crisis or above is still above the 5-year average. Crop sowing in 2022 was delayed by a poor start to the season, and although the crops were eventually planted after the downpours from hurricanes and storms, the heavy rains also contributed to a resurgence of migratory locusts and good conditions for fall armyworms.
Hurricanes and droughts have devastating effects on women and children. The risk of women and girls facing gender-based violence has been exacerbated by each of these disasters, and more than 6,900 cases of gender-based violence were recorded in Grand Sud and Grand Sud-Est in 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, with 92 percent of the survivors being women and 8 percent are men. At the same time, families have adopted desperate coping mechanisms, with child labour, child marriage and sexual violence (including sexual abuse and sexual exploitation) highlighted as the top three child protection concerns during a rapid protection assessment in the Grand Sud.
Children’s access to education has also been impacted: schools were damaged by the hurricanes, while children in the Grand Sud dropped out of school to help their families survive the drought by foraging for food and water or performing child labor – including selling water , petty trade, begging and zebu-sitting. The rise in child marriage has pushed girls out of school, particularly in Grand Sud, where five regions (Anosy, Androy, Atsimo Andrefana, Atsimo Atsinanana) had some of the highest child marriage rates in the country even before the drought.
Each of these emergencies has also affected access to clean water and increased the risk of communicable diseases. Access to drinking water remains poor in all nine drought-affected districts, forcing the majority of the population to use surface water. In the districts affected by the cyclone, the WASH infrastructure was destroyed or contaminated.
Affected areas face a high prevalence of childhood diseases such as diarrhoea, malaria and respiratory infections, while vaccination coverage is low. Malaria also affects the Grand Sud and Grand Sud-Est regions, particularly Anosy, Atsimo Andrefana and Atsimo Atsinanana. The Grand Sud is also threatened by poliovirus and measles outbreaks, with two cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus reported in the Atsimo Andrefana region in the past 12 months and three confirmed measles cases reported in the Atsimo Atsinanana region since early 2012.
As a result, there are now at least 1.9 million people in Grand Sud (1.15 million) and Grand Sud-Est (0.75 million) estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance between June and December 2022.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA’s activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.