Response to Recurrent Natural Disasters and Seasonal Food Insecurity in Madagascar

This Operation has been modified as per Budget Revision 8 ( see below). This fifth budget revision to Madagascar protracted relief and recovery operation (PRRO)200065 “Response to Recurrent Natural Disasters and Seasonal Food Insecurity in Madagascar” extends the operation in time by twelve months until 30 June 2014 to accommodate the one-year extension of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), agreed by the United Nations Country Team (UNCT). Following the postponement of the country's return to constitutional order through free and transparent elections, the development of an updated framework for national priorities has not yet been possible. This revision will enable WFP to continue responding to the needs of vulnerable communities affected by (i) recurring natural disasters due to extreme weather related shocks and (ii) the economic downturn as a result of the protracted political crisis since 2009.

The protracted relief and recovery operation (PRRO) 200065 will address the continued needs of cyclone-affected populations on the east coast and drought-affected people in the south of the country. The situation of these populations has been further destabilized as a result of the recent political and social unrest.

Madagascar, with a population of roughly 19 million, is classified as a least developed, low-income, food deficit country, and is ranked 145th out of 177 countries by the 2009 United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report. About 70 percent of the population live below the poverty line and 60 percent of the population live on less than one US dollar per day.

A nation-wide Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis, undertaken by WFP in 2005, found that 25 percent of the rural population was food-insecure. These findings were confirmed by a secondary data analysis (SDA), commissioned by WFP in June 2009. The country is faced with frequent droughts, cyclones and floods that exacerbate an already precarious food security situation. In the last four decades, over 50 natural disasters have affected the country. Food insecurity is pervasive in the South due to prolonged drought conditions and a generally arid environment and seasonal in the east due to cyclones and subsequent flooding. Food insecurity is traditionally most pronounced from October to March, just before the main harvest. 

During the lean season, the global acute malnutrition rate gets as high as 15 percent, and even higher in drought or cyclone affected areas. The prevalence of stunting and underweight among children under 5 is 53 percent and 36 percent respectively.1

An external evaluation of the current PRRO 104420 undertaken in November 2008 concluded that WFP’s interventions and response mechanisms, including those adopted to address unforeseen events, were relevant and appropriate. Geographical and household targeting was found to be accurate. However, the evaluation recommended that the recovery component be strengthened. Based on the experience gained from the present operation, it is proposed that WFP will continue to address relief and early recovery needs by pre-positioning food stocks in disaster-prone areas to ensure a timely response in the aftermath of a natural disaster and protect the most vulnerable populations from falling into further destitution.

WFP intends to reach each year 516,000 food-insecure and vulnerable people. In the drought-prone south and cyclone-prone areas (mainly the eastern seaboard), a relief component will act to save lives and protect livelihoods. Under the early recovery component, WFP will respond to both slow and rapid onset disasters with the aim of reducing the emergence of negative coping strategies, mitigating assets’ depletion and restoring key livelihood assets. Activities will include general food distributions, food for work and a nutrition rehabilitation programme for moderately malnourished children and pregnant and lactating women.

The specific objectives of the operation are to: i) reduce acute malnutrition in children under 5 in targeted populations; ii) improve food consumption for targeted emergencyaffected households in line with Strategic Objective 1 of the WFP Strategic Plan (“Save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies”), and iii) restore the livelihoods of foodinsecure households in line with Strategic Objective 3 (“Restore and rebuild lives and livelihoods in post-disaster situations”). WFP will also continue its efforts to establish partnerships for community-based disaster management and mitigation. The activities will contribute to the following Millennium Development Goals: 1, “Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger”; 4, “Reduce child mortality”; and 5, “Improve maternal health”.

In light of the continuing political crisis and the limited prospects for an early solution, WFP proposes a two-year PRRO expansion phase in order to allow time for elections and the formation of a democratically-elected government before engaging in extensive consultations with the government counterparts on the design of future assistance.