Emergency in Madagascar

New York/Paris, March 9, 2000 — The international humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today sent a full cargo of 35 tons of relief materials to Madagascar. Composed of medicines, first aid supplies, food, blankets, shelter and water/sanitation materials, the provisions will permit the initiation of emergency programs following the passage of cyclones Eline and Gloria.

The population of Madagascar is once again being hit hard by severe weather that has caused extensive flooding and damage throughout southeastern Africa. According to the National Relief Center (NRC) in Madagascar, 700,000 people have already been affected in the country.

"Several cities are cut off from sources of food and provisions, and some villages are completely flooded. MSF, in collaboration with the NRC, will concentrate its efforts on the most isolated villages in order to aid 10,000 families, or 50 to 60,000 people, who require immediate assistance," explained Pierre-Pascal Vandini, Assistant Director of Operations at MSF.

In addition to the nutritional consequences, the hurricane could aggravate the cholera epidemic that has been rampant in Madagascar for nearly a year. MSF is reinforcing its team already on the ground to intervene in the regions of Morolambo, Anosibe An'Ala, and Antanambao Manampotsy (on the eastern coast).

Present in Madagascar since 1987, MSF also provided disaster assistance after the passage of cyclone Gretelle devastated the southeastern region of the island in 1997.