Disaster Preparedness and Response

The issue

What we do

What we achieve



child eating plumpynut
© UNICEF Madagascar/2009
A child eats a highly nutritious food supplement distributed during a drought in southern Madagascar, which pushed cases of severe acute malnutrition in children to near critical levels.

UNICEF Madagascar's primary areas of commitment in responding to emergencies are nutrition and health; water, sanitiation and hygiene (WASH); education; and child protection.

Partner non-governmental organisations are key to the effective distribution of materials at a local level. Emergency supplies include blankets, kits for sterilising water, mosquito nets, essential drugs, school materials, and tarpaulins to construct temporary schools and shelters.

Responding to nutrition crisis - southern Madagascar 2009

Drought in late 2008-2009 caused a severe nutrition crisis in southern Madagascar, in which crops failed leaving thousands of people in some of Madagascar's poorest regions without adequate food. Instances of severe acute malnutrition in children under five rose to near critical levels, sparking a major campaign to reach affected populations.

Integrated health, nutrition and WASH interventions included: providing medicines to ensure free supplies in 145 health centres, serving nearly 1.5 million people; training over 7,000 community health workers to identify severe acute malnutrition in children; providing equipment to ensure that health centres were able to continue operating; and providing the most vulnerable children with fortified food and theraputic milk.

Large parts of southern Madagascar continue to suffer from persistent food insecurity, and the continuing work of UNICEF and its partner organisations remains crucial if future nutrition crises are to be averted. Addressing this, UNICEF is supporting partners in strengthening nutritional monitoring and surveillance in order to identify the need for early action to avoid any significant deterioration in the situation.


children with school kits
© UNICEF Madagascar/2010
"School in a box" kits distributed after Tropical Storm Hubert meant that children whose classrooms had been destroyed or damaged could continue to learn.

After the storm - eastern Madagascar March 2010

Tropical storm Hubert hit the east coast of Madagascar on March 10, 2010, but the weather system responsible had already caused heavy rains for over a week before the storm struck. For three days after making landfall, Hubert continued to generate massive rainfall, leaving widespread flooding along Madagascar's eastern coast. Major rivers broke their banks, and road and rail links were destroyed.

This made responding to the emergency complicated and challenging.

By using planes and boats, and working with local partners, UNICEF was able to deliver emergency supplies including: medicines to provide free treatment for respiratory diseases, diahorrea, malaria and influenza in 99 health centres covering nearly 900,000 people; over 3,000 mosquito nets and 2,000 blankets; and 3,500 WASH kits to ensure access to cleas water for the most badly affected households.

To minimise disruption to children's education, UNICEF provided 48 temporary classrooms and repaired 90 classrooms for 10,794 students. In addition, the distribution of 328 'school-in-a-box' kits and 152 recreation kits benefitted 26,240 children. To address the nutritional needs of affected families, and prevent severe deterioration of the nutritional situation, 36 centres for early detection and treatment of severe malnourishment were established.





Partnering for children in emergencies

The Humanitarian Action Report 2011, highlights the most severe crises impacting children and women around the world.


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