UN food agency to feed 20,000 in cyclone-hit Madagascar
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced that it is flying desperately needed food aid and other supplies by helicopter for 20,000 people in north-western Madagascar who have been effectively cut off after the African island nation faced one of the worst cyclone seasons in years.
Air transport is necessary because villages have been isolated due to road and bridge damage caused by several cyclones.
“For weeks people in these remote areas have survived on stocks of food but these have now been consumed and new supplies of food are urgently needed,” said WFP’s Madagascar Representative Krystyna Bednarska.
“The cyclones that hit this part of the country caused extensive damage to roads and bridges and have made an air operation our only option to save lives.”
The agency plans to distribute 100 metric tonnes of food and other crucial items by helicopter over four weeks from a base in the town of Antsohihy in the north-west of the country.
The first phase of this operation, which has already provided 25 metric tonnes of food and other supplies since its start last Friday, targets 8,200 people in the area surrounding Antsohihy, while the second leg will focus on villages hundreds of kilometers north around Ambanja where 12,000 require assistance.
WFP’s scheme is aimed at those most in need of food. Over 150 people were killed and 190,000 were left in need of humanitarian aid when two cyclones – Indlala and Jaya – hit the north-east and north-west of the country in March and April.
This year, the country was also hit by cyclones Gamede, Favio and Enok, as well as by several severe tropical storms.