Humanitarian Action for Children 2012


© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-1229/Pirozzi

A girl holds a doll in a poor neighbourhood in Antananarivo, the capital. The country, beset by poverty, an isolated location, natural disasters and an ongoing political crisis, is one of the poorest in the world.

September 2012 Update: UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children [PDF]


Children and Women in Crisis

Poverty, geography and political crisis have combined to create a cycle of suffering for the women and children of Madagascar, which is one of the world’s poorest countries, ranking 135 out of 169, according to the 2010 Human Development Report.1 Poverty is exacerbated by a vulnerable geographical location and topography, which expose the country to various natural hazards, including tropical cyclones, flooding and drought. Between 2002 and 2011, Madagascar was hit by a total of 22 cyclones affecting close to 3 million people, including an estimated 540,000 children under age 5.2 In addition, an ongoing political crisis has resulted in the suspension of most external assistance to the country and has reduced the capacity of Malagasy authorities to effectively respond to emergencies.

Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012

UNICEF, together with partners including the Malagasy authorities, other UN agencies and NGOs, will focus on assisting the most vulnerable children and women in areas prone to cyclone and flooding. As lead of the education, nutrition and WASH clusters and child protection sub-cluster, as well as a  participant in the health cluster, UNICEF expects to reach more than 1 million people and about 504,000 children, including 247,000 girls and 257,000 boys under age 5.

Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011

UNICEF had received US$1,630,413 (9 per cent) as of end October towards the requested US$19,050,000 for humanitarian work in Madagascar.  Donor funding, complemented by the use of pre-positioned stocks and regular resources, helped UNICEF achieve results. In cyclone-affected areas, in collaboration with local education authorities and local NGO Fiangonan'i Jesosy Kristy Madagasikara, UNICEF supported the installation of 411 temporary classrooms, which benefited 23,000 schoolchildren. The WASH cluster disinfected 901 water points following the cyclones, benefiting some 51,000 people, of which UNICEF disinfected 188 water points, which benefited nearly 24,000 people.

In response to the political crisis, psychosocial support and assistance was provided through 18 child-friendly spaces in Antananarivo, reaching more than 2,000 children daily. Additional assistance was provided through the integrated unit at the maternity hospital for child victims of violence. Access to health care in the three southern regions was improved when UNICEF met its target of providing essential medicines for 129,000 children under age 5 in 8 districts. The diagnosis and treatment of severe acute malnutrition in 9 districts in southern Madagascar benefited more than 7,000 children under age 5 through July with community-based management of malnutrition. The referral system was strengthened through the training of 3,000 community health workers. 

Funding Requirements for 2012

UNICEF is requesting US$20,950,000 for its humanitarian work in Madagascar. Because the ongoing political crisis has resulted in the suspension of most development aid, adequate funding is necessary to stave off a crisis in health services. Funding for other key humanitarian activities, such as access to clean water, adequate sanitation facilities and education, is critical to the the well-being and survival of women and children in Madagascar.

More information on humanitarian action planned in 2012 can be found at and the country office website at

1 United Nations Development Programme, ‘Human Development Report 2010: The real wealth of nations – Pathways to human development’, UNDP, New York, 2009, p. 145. 
2 Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, ‘Summarized Table of Natural Disasters in Madagascar from 2002 to 2011’, EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database, CRED, Brussels, available at, and UNICEF estimate of child population.