- The UN has flashed an urgent appeal to help the Madagascar population following a series of humanitarian crises that hit the country since late last year.
"To prevent the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, the Madagascar Humanitarian Country Team is seeking US$ 35,732,550 to save lives, bolster social safety nets and, should the political situation allow, support time-critical recovery. This appeal will be revised as the situation evolves and further assessment and surveillance data becomes available," the UN team said in the appeal.
The UN team observed that in 2009, Madagascar has suffered the effects of multiple crises, including drought, cyclones and a period of political instability marked by violence, which recently led to the ousting of the president.
The team said the political crisis over the past three months has worsened the already poor situation of large segments of the Malagasy population through disruptions in basic social services, a climate of fear and uncertainty, and caused delays or cessation of services to a number of aid and development projects across the country.
"These disruptions have exacerbated the effects of the cyclones and drought, diverting attention, and delaying assessments and response. The political instability severely affected industry and other livelihood sources, including the tourism sector, causing income losses for many households," said the UN team.
With the majority of the population living on under $1 a day, according to the UN, increased food prices and limited incomes have curtailed the ability of most households to access foodstuffs, water, sanitation and other social services.
"This combination of crises has increased the numbers of persons needing humanitarian assistance, to the extent that an estimated 2.5 million people living mainly in Madagascar's main cities of Antananarivo, Antsiranana, Antsirabe, Toliary, Toamasina, Mahajanga, Manacara and Fianarantsoa, and an additional 880,000 living in the drought-affected south, now need humanitarian assistance," the statement said.
The statement also pointed out that while particular focus has been placed on the delivery of emergency aid, there is also a need for time critical early recovery elements that support livelihood recovery, and which can immediately support the affected population to restore their lives. "More importantly, community peace-building takes on added significance from the communities whose unresolved grievances caused the civil unrest. In this regard, attention must also be given to governance and to a coordinated approach to delivery and access to basic and protection services," the UN appeal pointed out.
The team also said current delays and the suspension of government programmes, combined with the reduced capacity of the administration due to the sudden change in leadership and the suspension of some international assistance, has severely curtailed the current Government's capacity to meet the basic needs of the population.
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