14/03/2012 - The 2012 cyclone season has triggered urgent humanitarian needs in Madagascar, the world's fourth biggest island. Severe tropical cyclone "Giovanna" from 14 February, followed two weeks later by tropical storm "Irina", have hit Madagascar killing more than 100 people and badly affecting nearly 310,000 people. In some districts, more than half of the houses have been damaged or destroyed by landslides and floods. At least 100,000 people are in direct need of humanitarian assistance.
The European Commission is responding to these natural disasters with a €1 million emergency aid decision helping the most vulnerable with life-saving assistance such as water, health and shelter. The Commission's support will reach the most affected victims through humanitarian partners working on the ground.
In 2011 the European Commission assisted Madagascar in response to the cyclone Bingiza in the Sava region and to the floods in the south-east part of the island. Madagascar benefits also from the European Commission Disaster Preparedness programme for Southern Africa known as "DIPECHO". In 2010-2011 the Commission allocated €5,5 million from the programme to prepare the population and national authorities for future disasters and to develop an adequate system for responding to them. In 2012 Madagascar will continue to benefit from the third phase of the programme.
Madagascar is prone to cyclones and tropical storms, particularly during the rainy season between January and April.