© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-1246/Pirozzi

Children line up for lunch at a primary school in Soavinandriana District, Itasy Region. Recurrent natural disasters, poverty and political upheaval are likely to lead to a worsening of the nutritional status of more than 100,000 children.

Children and women in crisis

In Madagascar, extreme poverty, recurrent natural disasters, and a political crisis have created a potent recipe for crisis. The suspension of most external assistance to the country has resulted in reduced capacity of the government to respond to emergencies. Food insecurity has become a daily reality for many. In fact, unless food insecurity in the southern areas of Androy, Anosy and Atsimo Andrefana is addressed immediately, it is very likely that the nutritional status of 136,000 children-at-risk under age 5 will deteriorate – requiring an emergency intervention in the first three months of 2011.1 This will be a crucial year for UNICEF in its efforts to improve the welfare of Madagascar’s women and children.

Meeting urgent needs and building resilience in 2011

UNICEF, together with partners including the Government of Madagascar, other UN agencies and non-governmental organizations, will focus on assisting the most vulnerable women and children in the drought-affected food-insecure southern region and areas prone to cyclone. One important aspect of UNICEF’s assistance is the leadership of the education, nutrition, and WASH clusters, as well as the protection cluster. UNICEF expects to reach more than 1 million women of childbearing age and around 560,000 girls and 584,000 boys under 5 years old.

Humanitarian funding at work: Highlights from 2010

According to the mid-2010 revised request, UNICEF estimated that US$11,113,565 was needed to fund its humanitarian work in Madagascar. As of October 2010, a total of US$331,565 – 3 per cent – had been received. Donor funding, complemented by the use of pre-positioned stocks and regular resources, helped UNICEF achieve the following results: More than 1.4 million people were able to stay healthier with the essential medicines given to 145 health centres. About 48,000 children aged 6–59 months were screened to diagnose severe acute malnutrition at least twice during the year. In the southern region of the country, 8,000 children were diagnosed and treated, and among them, 1,506 were referred to a district hospital. Safe water, so important for preventing disease, became a reality for 50,000 people when 170 water points were disinfected. Children whose lives were thrown into turmoil by Cyclone Hubert were able to start learning again when 84 damaged classrooms in 69 schools were repaired.

Funding requirements for 2011

UNICEF is requesting $19.2 million for its 2011 humanitarian work in Madagascar, a 40 per cent increase over the 2010 request. In the context of crisis in Madagascar, the reduction of financial resources allocated to the health sector has prompted a significant increase in the request for funds for health-related work – funding necessary to stave off a massive crisis in health services that millions of people depend on. Without funding for key humanitarian activities, the well-being of women and children in Madagascar will be jeopardized to the point of requiring additional emergency intervention. .

More information on details about achievements of 2010 and the humanitarian action planned for Madagascar in 2011 can be found at www.unicef.org/hac2011.

1 World Food Programme, ‘Prognostic definitif 2010’ [Final assessment 2010], Powerpoint, pp. X.

UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2011 (in US dollars) Total $19,200,000