UN revises humanitarian appeal for Madagascar

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The humanitarian wing of the UN has announced it is revising downwards its appeal for aid for Madagascar but warned that the country’s population still remains highly vulnerable to the impact of cyclones, drought and continuing political tensions.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said yesterday that it is now seeking $22.3 million (R172 million) for its “flash appeal” for Madagascar, a reduction from the $35.7 million (R275 million) it had sought in April.
So far, nearly $11.7 million (R90 million) has been provided and UN agencies say they ultimately hope to assist about 516 000 people with the funds raised in the appeal.
OCHA reported that the political crisis, which led to the resignation of the president in March, has had a less-than-expected impact on the provision of basic social services and development projects.
“Although to date the impact has not been as devastating as feared, the situation in Madagascar remains unstable and far from resolved,” OCHA added, stressing the need for a peaceful resolution to the political tensions.
“The ongoing uncertainty is clearly exacerbating an already fragile economy weakened by the global economic recession.”
OCHA said Madagascar remains unprepared for the next cyclone season, with inadequate stocks of emergency goods and inefficient mechanisms to coordinate any emergency response. The Indian Ocean country is often battered by cyclones in the early months of the year.
But it also said that a strong rice harvest and stable prices for many basic goods have also contributed to an easing of the humanitarian situation, leaving fewer people in need of emergency assistance.