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Madagascar, 15 February 2012: UNICEF and partners gear up to assist victims of cyclone Giovanna

ANTANANARIVO, 15 February 2012 – UNICEF, the national office for disaster response and other humanitarian partners are gearing up their relief operation for people affected by cyclone Giovanna that struck Madagascar today.

The category 4 cyclone made landfall at 1a.m. about 100 kilometres South of the city of Tamatave, which is also known as Taomasina, in Brickaville district.

It then moved across the island in a southwesterly direction where it lost strength in the highlands and was downgraded to a tropical storm. The capital Antananarivo nevertheless saw relatively strong winds and heavy rains.

NGOs partners of UNICEF swiftly began to assist victims with water and sanitation, child protection and education. The NGO Frere St.Gabriel for example is activating a water purification plant in the hard-hit town of Brickaville. Another partner, SAF, is constructing UNICEF temporary classrooms in place of those that were destroyed.

“From the East coast we received reports of damage and human loss caused by heavy winds and flooding.” said Dominic Stolarow, UNICEF’s Emergency Coordinator in Madagascar.

“What needs to be done now is a proper assessment so we can understand the exact dimensions of this natural disaster. It will help us to design an adequate response,” he said.

The national disaster office will organize an aerial assessment as soon as possible. UNICEF moved five regional technical advisors to support assessment and response.

In addition, two UNICEF rapid assessment teams were on stand-by in Antananarivo to be deployed together with teams from other UN agencies at short notice.

UNICEF has stocks of basic items in the country to help 66,000 people through the first few days, such as water purification devices and mosquito nets. There are also school kits for 45,000 children in stock, which could be distributed to those in need immediately.

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



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