Families gather inside a gymnasium to seek shelter from the cyclone. | © BNGRC- MADAGASCAR
HI teams begin initial assessments after cyclone Batsirai makes landfall.
Some HI teams are starting this Sunday with visits to the areas most affected by the cyclone, which has not yet finished its devastating path across Madagascar. Over the past few days, HI has replenished its stocks to enable distributions to families affected by the storm as soon as the alert is lifted.
"Saturday, at 1pm, although the cyclone had not yet hit Madagascar, our teams and partners reported unusually violent winds and rainfall. Batsirai was still about 150 km from Madagascar and nearing the coast, with areas where the sea had already been rising dangerously,” says Vincent Dalonneau, HI’s director in Madagascar. “This Sunday morning, authorities in the Eastern region of Vatovavy reported significant destruction on top of the risk of food shortage already occurring.”
"We have done our utmost to prepare for the arrival of this cyclone. Our teams have taken shelter to protect themselves from the violence of the storm, and we have worked with our partners to enable vulnerable people and people with disabilities to find safety in secure buildings such as schools or gymnasiums. Since Batsirai was announced, we have also been supporting vulnerable families implementing family emergency plans, reducing the eventual impact of the disaster. We are working closely with other NGOs and local authorities to act quickly, coordinate, and communicate throughout the crisis. Everyone is taking action because the risks are so high for the population."
Nearly 70 of the HI's staff are ready to intervene, as soon as the security alert is lifted, by going to affected areas and assessing needs, under the coordination of local authorities. Sunday morning, the first teams set out to an affected region to determine the extent of destruction.
"With the support of Save the Children in particular, we have built up additional stocks of emergency aid," explains Vincent, "so that we can ensure distributions as soon as possible. The household kits enable us to provide families with essentials they may have lost during the cyclone: cooking equipment, blankets, candles, dishes, etc., We also have dignity kits with hygiene materials such as soap, toothpaste, jerry cans, and water purifiers."
"Depending on the severity of the situation, we will adapt our response to provide effective assistance to those who need it most. All our teams across the country are mobilised and we have enough stock to intervene throughout the very first days, the most critical period after any disaster."