Apart from Comoros, Madagascar is the second most exposed country in Africa to climatic shocks and is regularly affected by cyclones, floods and drought. It is estimated that almost a quarter of the population (around 5 million people) live in areas of risk. Recent studies for Madagascar indicate that the intensity of tropical cyclones for the country is increasing, with trajectories shifting slightly northward. Cyclones occur almost yearly, affecting on average some 250,000 people and causing damages of US$50 million per event.
In the recent past, the frequency and intensity of these emergencies has increased, possibly as a result of global climate change, and it represents an increasing threat to the social development of the country. Over 60 percent of tropical cyclones that develop in the Indian Ocean, most of them arriving from the east, affect Madagascar.
UNICEF maintains prepositioned stocks of emergency supplies in Antananarivo and the eastern coastal town of Tamatave. These cover the essential needs of 25,000 people living in vulnerable regions. UNICEF also works with the National Office of Disaster Risk Management (BNGRC), to support the development of information management skills, and to support simulation exercises that reinforce the preparedness of partners to deliver effective response strategies.
Due to recurrent cyclones and flooding, the country office reinforces disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities to reduce impact and better prepare populations. The response strategy prioritizes the hard to reach affected population. To ensure that children have minimal interruption following a cyclone or flooding, UNICEF has been constructing and rehabilitating schools to ensure they are cyclone – resistant. Disaster reduction activities also focus on training teachers, education managers, students and the community. In addition, access to safe, clean water is crucial during an emergency. UNICEF works together with the Water Department in targeted regions to ensure the pre-positioning of water and sanitation supplies. This includes mobile latrines, water treatment units and purification products. Community members are also trained on water treatment and storage, construction of latrines and the use of local materials for latrine structures.