Nairobi/Antananarivo, 8 April 2015 – With consistent heavy rainfall leaving tens of thousands of families displaced in Madagascar, the Malagasy Red Cross Society, with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and other Movement partners, is ramping up its response operations to ensure timely and effective aid reaches those who need it most.

“The majority of people whose homes have been damaged by the incessant rains are now sleeping in the remains of their flooded houses, just trying to survive,” says Vinay Sadarvate, IFRC water and sanitation coordinator in East Africa. “We need to get them into better shelter immediately, and provide access to clean water and sanitation facilities, not only to make families more comfortable, but to also help ward off the outbreak of disease.”

IFRC is increasing the amount of emergency funding available from its Disaster Emergency Relief Fund to 452,887 Swiss francs to support relief operations. The additional funds will allow a total of 25,000 people to receive emergency Red Cross assistance in the form of shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene promotion. From the onset, the Malagasy Red Cross Society, together with the French Red Cross Indian Ocean Platform for Regional Intervention (PIROI), has deployed rescue teams to assist in the emergency response. In total, more than 830 volunteers have been engaged in installing 274 emergency shelters, latrines and drainage systems. They are also visiting communities to share hygiene and sanitation messages and limit the risk of water-related diseases transmission.

“Our staff and volunteers were the first to respond and we continue to do so despite the tremendous challenges of operating in an urban context,” says Fanja Ratsimbazafy, Secretary General, Malagasy Red Cross Society. “Our volunteers are working really hard to continue to provide support to those who are most vulnerable and prevent further suffering.”

When cyclone Chedza hit the island nation in January, the resulting heavy rains and landslides affected more than 93,000 people and displaced nearly 40,000, with the capital city of Antananarivo (Tana) being one of the worst affected areas. There is also widespread destruction in the central, southeastern, and western regions of the island. An estimated 13,100 hectares of rice fields have been flooded, raising fears of diminished crop yields. Many schools remain closed and are now being used as temporary shelters for thousands of people left homeless by the flooding.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Eastern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands Regional Representation