What are the needs?
A rapidly growing population, years of poor governance, political instability and an economic crisis means that the smallest shock can be devastating for Madagascar's already poor population. In addition, the basic social services, such as health care and education, on the world's fourth biggest island are either declining or already collapsed in many rural areas.
The security situation has deteriorated dramatically, particularly in rural areas in the south of the country which is impacting the people's means to earn an income, or to feed their families.
Cyclones, winds, floods and locusts
Madagascar is very prone to cyclones, tropical rains and flooding. The cyclone season, which falls between January and April with February being the worst month, brings with it winds heavy rains and subsequent flooding.
Many areas of Madagascar have experienced a natural shock in the last two seasons - cyclone Haruna in 2013; cyclone Giovanna in 2012 followed by Storm Irina two weeks later; a locust infestation which ravaged crops and poor rainfall in some areas. For an already vulnerable population, the ability to cope after the disasters is weakening and food consumption for families in the lean season is reduced.
Vulnerability on the rise
A rise in banditry in the southern part of the island has also led to food insecurity; the population is afraid to plant or harvest crops or to even graze their livestock. The continued absence of law and order could lead to a food and nutritional crisis.
How are we helping?
The European Commission responds to the natural disasters both in terms of response and preparation. For response following a disaster in Madagascar, the humanitarian funds help the most vulnerable with life-saving assistance such as shelter, food security and water and sanitation services.
Since 2008, the European Commission has invested in a bottom-up, community-based disaster preparedness strategy aimed at building the resilience of communities themselves to cope with recurrent natural disasters. This includes preparing the population and national authorities for future disasters and developing an adequate system for responding to them.
With the European Commission's funds, efforts are also being made to develop and promote short cycle seeds and grains, such as rice, cyclone-resistant food sources, like tubers and intercropping cash crops such as clove trees, and coffee with staple foods.