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Madagascar, 5 March 2012: UNICEF brings children back to school after Cyclone Giovanna

Antananarivo, 5 March 2012 –Three weeks after Cyclone Giovanna struck Madagascar and destroyed dwellings and schools, UNICEF has begun to assist the government in making school buildings safer and more resistant against the recurrent natural calamities on the island.

“’Building back better!’ in the context of Madagascar means re-building schools that have been lost to the cyclone while upgrading existing school facilities in a way that they can resist a cyclone in future,” said Mario Bacigalupo, Construction Specialist at UNICEF Madagascar.

A damage assessment after Giovanna hit the country showed that schools were disproportionately affected – mainly because a large number of them were built from wood with thatched roofs instead of concrete or other sturdier materials. Many school buildings across the country pre-date the 2004 law that requires all new public buildings in at-risk areas in Madagascar to meet minimum anti-cyclone standards.

In total, around US$20 million in funding will be needed for the cyclone-proofed reconstruction of 1,028 destroyed classrooms and the rehabilitation of another 408 classrooms that were damaged. UNICEF urgently needs US$2 million to be able to begin with the reconstruction of an initial 80 classrooms.

In the meantime, UNICEF and partners have started to construct 650 temporary learning spaces using plastic sheeting and local materials so that children can go back to school as soon as possible. The first 250 such learning spaces are currently being set up while UNICEF still needs an additional US$71,000 for the remaining 400 school tents.

Cyclone Giovanna that crossed the Indian Ocean Island on 14 February has killed at least 35 people and affected 241,769 according to latest data from the national disaster office BNGRC. Agricultural production was hit and as many as 43,953 homes were destroyed.

For further information, please contact:
Daniel Timme
Chief Media & External Relations
UNICEF Madagascar +261 33 15 411 31



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