Dozens of people have died and tens of thousands are homeless in the wake of devastating floods that swept through the African island country of Madagascar during a recent cyclone. The disaster was aggravated by ongoing deforestation and environment degradation. Survivors need our help.
If ever there has been a time where we see an impact and connection between deforestation and the livelihood of the people in Madagascar, the time is now.
This week Cyclone Irina has devastated the already struggling villages of Madagascar in the region of Ranomafana, an area consisting of over 100 villages in eastern Madagascar. From the daily newspaper and the national local radio, there are reports of more than 54 people dying, many of them children who were swept away by rivers, as a result of major landslides.
Last week a car went was washed off an embankment and three three of the four family members inside died as it was swept down the Namorona River. The people that tried to rescue them were also swept up by the current, but made it out. Unfortunately the mother and two kids didn’t.
Another major landslide near Ifanadiana and took out a taxi brousse of 20 people. Approximately 75,000 villagers are homeless and 80 percent of the area and their crops were severely damaged.
These landslides are mostly occurring in the neighboring areas of Kelialana and Ifanadiana. Not surprisingly, Ifanadiana is the “county” seat where heavy gold-mining occurred this
year, 15 km east of Ranomafana village. The erosion caused as a direct result of the deforestation incurred by this mining is devastating.
Centre ValBio is the main NGO in this area and together we work with the Madagascar National Parks and the Mayor’s office to help in disasters. We loan our cars to rescue people, using our vehicles as ambulances to rush people to the hospital in the capitol of Antananarivo if needed. All of our staff work with the National Park rangers to dig away dirt from avalanches
blocking the road and cut trees that have fallen over the main road. We also help MNP to rebuild the bridge over the Namarona River. We
share any medications we have with the Ranomafana Hospital. We join with the tourist hotels to donate funds to the Mayor’s office, who distributes them to the people who lost homes.
We are in the process of gathering supplies and food to help those afflicted. Please consider making a donation to The Madagascar Emergency Relief Fund. Information about this and more about the relief efforts may be found on the Centre ValBio website.