HEM Tetsuro KAWAGUCHI, Japanese Ambassador in Madagascar, symbolically handed a bag of rice to beneficiaries during the Japanese donation hand-over ceremony held in Antananarivo.
Photo: WFP/Sabrina Razafimbelo
The Japanese Government has allocated US$ 2 million to purchase 2,000mt of food, which has now arrived in Madagascar and will be distributed through food-for-work activities in cyclone affected eastern and southeastern regions.
The Japanese Government’s assistance is part of a recovery programme set up to help cyclone and flood affected populations in the east and south-east of Madagascar recover from the passage of cyclones Giovanna and Irina as well as torrential rains that hit the island in February 2012. Two hundred and fifteen thousand people receive assistance through this programme. In this part of the country, regularly affected by cyclones and flooding, over 80% of the population relies on agriculture and the poverty rate is above 90%.
“Japan provides timely resources to help WFP ensure that food insecure households get adequate quantities of food and are able to rebuild their lives and livelihoods and regenerate their sources of income again” said Willem van Milink, WFP Representative in Madagascar. “The assistance is crucial especially for people with little food stocks and whose means of subsistence and source of income have been disrupted by the cyclones.”
The recovery activities are done through food for work projects and are taking place between July and October 2012. The projects involve the rehabilitation of rural feeder roads and irrigation canals, clearing sand from rice paddies, building or fixing damaged houses as well as the construction or repair of sanitation infrastructure.
“Given the urgency and the humanitarian nature of the interventions, the Japanese Government decided to provide financial support to WFP,” said HE Tetsuro Kawaguchi, the Japanese ambassador in Madagascar. “Japan truly hopes that these projects will increase food availability for people living in the area.”
Food-for-work activities enable food insecure households to increase the availability of agricultural land, enhance food production and ultimately mitigate the effects of future natural disasters, thus building their resilience to shocks while improving their food security.
“The cyclones and the floods damaged houses, flooded rice crops and destroyed agricultural infrastructures,” said Clémentine Razanatovo, who lives in Fenomby in the south east of Madagascar and is part of a food for work project. “WFP’s assistance through the Japanese donation is essential to help us make it through difficult times in the aftermath of the cyclones,” she added as she symbolically received food from the hands of the Japanese ambassador.
An evaluation of the damages caused by the storms demonstrates that 75% of Madagascar’s east coast’s harvests have been damaged or completely destroyed. Close to 84,000 families in the affected regions are considered severely food insecure.