Cyclone Enawo has passed through Madagascar and will end its course in the Anosy region. Madagascar authorities have reported severe damage caused by the cyclone and the subsequent flooding, especially in Antahala, where they believe 80% of homes were destroyed as well as 100% of crops.
The national office of risk and disaster management reports that 10,000 people are displaced and 52,000 are affected, although according to the Red Cross, 700,000 may be affected. Handicap International’s team is trained in emergency response and are assessing the needs of those affected–starting in the capital, Antananarivo–with an emphasis on the most vulnerable (people with disabilities, older people, pregnant women).
Handicap International has been working in Madagascar for 30 years and our staff on the ground are very familiar with the country, however, it’s difficult to obtain a full picture of the situation due to power outages and difficulties accessing areas in the north.
"Many areas in Madagascar are hemmed in and difficult to access, even in normal circumstances, explains Pilar Duat Llorens, Handicap International's field program director in Madagascar. “In the wake of the cyclone, it is no longer possible to reach the north of the country and the lines of communication have been cut off due to flooding. This is precisely the region where the cyclone has no doubt caused the most damage."
According to Xavier Duvauchelle, Handicap International’s desk officer for East and South Africa, our team is prepared to distribute aid: "We have contingency stocks ready to deploy to distribute cooking kits, tarpaulins, crutches, and wheelchairs to help those who have lost everything,” he explains.
Cyclone Enawo update
The storm has reduced in intensity and has been downgraded to a tropical storm with winds of around 65 mps, which is headed toward the southern region of Madagascar. However, the rainfall is still very heavy. Severe flooding has affected the capital city, Antananarivo, where there are fears that the most deprived neighborhoods will struggle to cope with this most recent disaster, which follows from the flooding in 2015 that affected tens of thousands of people.
Handicap International in Madagascar
Handicap International has been present in Madagascar for over 30 years, and currently runs several, multifaceted projects. Our work in the country has included preventing disability in prison populations, improving schooling for children with disabilities, increasing access to maternal and child health care, fighting against the disabling disease lymphatic filiarisis, and advocating for the inclusion of people with disabilities. Learn more here.