- Madagascar's 2002/03 cyclone season has officially ended, and it's time to look forward to the harvests. The Ministry of Agriculture has not released its preliminary harvest estimates, but yield forecasts are reported to be promising.
The cyclone season had been marked by erratic rains in the south, with long dry spells and periods of intensive rainfall brought by tropical storms and cyclones, the World Food Programme (WFP) concludes.
This most likely has prepared the ground for good harvests. On the other hand, "as predictions for harvests in the most productive regions are optimistic, overall production figures may mask severe shortages in southern areas," WFP notes.
While producer prices have declined in some urban centres, similar price drops had not been witnessed in the drought-affected zones in the south where purchasing power remains weak.
One week after cyclone 'Manou' hit the eastern coast, the latest report issued by the National Rescue Committee (CNS) revealed that this natural disaster had killed 70 people and injured 85. A further 19 people were reported missing and 114,480 people have been left homeless in the towns of Votamanandry, the hardest hit locality, and Brickaville, both of which are located 200 kilometres east of the Malagasy capital, Antananarivo.
With winds reaching up to 200 kilometres per hour, 'Manou' had destroyed 24,500 homes along with crops, roads and essential infrastructure. The UN development agency UNDP has reported that relief items such as tents, blankets and medicine for malaria and diarrhoea now were required. WFP reports it is working through its implementing partner CARE, on rehabilitation efforts, particularly on secondary roads.
Based upon the European Union Early Warning System (SAP), the preliminary number of people requiring emergency food aid in the south had increased to 270,000 in 18 districts, WFP warns.
This figure represented an increase of approximately 100,000 people from those that are currently receiving food assistance through Food for Work activities. In order to address this worsening situation, WFP was to revise its budget for operations in Madagascar this year.
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