Worsening agriculture forces UN to double its appeal for cyclone-hit Madagascar

Worsening agriculture forces UN to double its appeal for cyclone-hit Madagascar

media:entermedia_image:6a19ad0f-2eb6-40fb-8952-e892387c2471
The United Nations relief arm today more than doubled the appeal it launched just two months ago to help Madagascar as the country tries to recover and rebuild its agriculture after a series of deadly recent cyclones and tropical storms since December.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is now seeking $19.5 million and those funds are needed urgently, OCHA spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs told a press briefing in Geneva.

More than 450,000 people have been affected by the six cyclones and tropical storms themselves and then by the subsequent heavy floods which have struck the Indian Ocean nation, severely damaging agricultural production in some areas.

This season has been one of the worst cyclone seasons in years for Madagascar, with the most recent tropical storm hitting the northeast in early April.

Ms. Byrs said the food security situation in Madagascar was especially weak because much of the country had been suffering from drought before the cyclone season began at the end of last year.

Last year, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) ranked Madagascar 143rd out of 177 nations on its Human Development Index (HDI), which measures social, economic and material well-being.