WFP Helps Madagascar’s Cyclone-affected Communities Rebuild Their Lives

Three months have passed since cyclones hit the eastern and the southeastern regions of Madagascar. WFP is helping  the most affected communities to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.

Evatana is a municipality of 12,000 inhabitants located in the southeastern district of Manakara. This part of Madagascar is regularly hit by cyclones and floods which cause significant damage to road infrastructure and to crops, particularly rice and manioc.  

In this isolated area, life has never been easy. Three meals a day are an unheard of luxury for most poor families. And the lack of decent roads makes it difficult to transport and sell crops in the district market.

"We might have to walk half an hour to neighboring villages just to sell or buy manioc", says 50 year old Eliniamba, an inhabitant of Evatana and mother of two children. "And flooding has made an already difficult  situation worse”.
 Eliniamba’s rice field has become silted up, like the fields of many of her neighbours.

In Evatana, WFP – in collaboration with its partner, Inter Aide – undertakes  food-for-work activities which involve  building a dam for water conservation and an irrigation canal on 300 hectares of rice fields. WFP provides food in exchange for the labour of  520 community members.     

Eliniamba hopes these projects  will improve the rice harvest which is due  in August.

WFP’s food-for-work programmes, which also include  road rehabilitation,  helps the most vulnerable households to prepare for  any  future natural disasters.

Meanwhile, the food rations contribute to mitigating the effects of the lean season and ensure acceptable food consumption among targeted beneficiaries. The aim is to give  communities livelihoods so they can  support themselves.

“Some regions in southeastern Madagascar are facing an overpopulation problem that is aggravated by the hilly terrain”, says Inter Aide agricultural technician Jeans Randriamanantsoa. “Arable land is limited. As a result,  food shortages and food insecurity persist throughout the year. Our support enables the most vulnerable communities to eat regularly”.

Thanks to contributions from its donors, WFP supports 146,000 people through food-for-work activities in the southeastern and eastern parts of Madagascar.

An in-depth assessment of food security conducted by the UN Agencies and their Humanitarian Partners under the coordination of the National Disaster Management Authorities in late March revealed that some  400,000 people in these areas would face severe food insecurity in the subsequent two months. These inlcude households whose income-generating activities were disrupted or destroyed by the floods.