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Traumatized Community in Madagascar Braces for Cyclone Emnati

A man surveys the damage of a cyclone outside of a thatched roof home.

Naina/ for CARE

Naina/ for CARE

On February 22, 2022, Cyclone Emnati is expected to make landfall on the southeast coast of Madagascar following almost the same path as Cyclone Batsirai. Madagascar is facing a severe cyclone season that has seen Tropical Storm Ana, Cyclone Batsirai, an inter-tropical convergence zone, and most recently Cyclone Dumako, a week ago, hit the island nation. These extreme weather phenomena have left affected communities extremely vulnerable, as their sources of food and livelihoods have been destroyed.

Monique Morazain, CARE’s country director in Madagascar, said, “In six weeks, these extreme natural disasters have resulted in over 180 deaths, the displacement of more than 48,000 people and left more than 265,000 people in need. In its wake, Cyclone Batsirai devastated villages and communities as whole homes were destroyed. With this upcoming cyclone, we are concerned about the combined impacts it will have on the people we work with and more so, women and girls.”

“As CARE prepares for Cyclone Emnati, we are also responding to Cyclone Batsirai,” says Morazain; “We have seen that shelter and access to clean water are the predominant needs of the communities.  Currently, we have been coordinating with local authorities to distribute non-food items. These include kitchen utensils for 1,600 people and plastic sheeting for temporary shelter for 1,000 people.  To better respond to needs and provide relevant support, we are also conducting an in-depth gender-focused assessment.”

Cyclone Emnati, which is gaining strength, is expected to bring strong winds and heavy rains to some areas that are currently experiencing drought. The drought, the worst in 40 years in the region, has affected more than 1.3 million people, depriving them of food and drinking water.

Chikondi Chabvuta, the advocacy advisor for CARE’s Southern Africa region, said, “The increased frequency of cyclones in Madagascar is causing a lot of fear in an already traumatized community, as the memory of past natural disasters is not only visible but also persistent. People are losing their lives and livelihoods due to climate change and its impacts. Entire communities become vulnerable to these shocks. In a country where poverty is extremely high and inequality deep, climate change intensifies the impact of these emergencies on the community. The Malagasy people need the world to do better; this world belongs to all of us. When cyclones pass, the rains and flooding that follow cause tremendous loss and damage.”

CARE has an operational presence in Manakara, near where the cyclone is expected to make landfall. An emergency team has been deployed to Manakara to support the team already engaged in the response to Batsirai and prepare for Cyclone Emnati.

For More Information:

Dorissa White
CARE Junior Press Officer

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