- The humanitarian wing of the United Nations has announced it is revising downwards its appeal for aid for Madagascar but warned that the country's population still remains highly vulnerable to the impact of cyclones, drought and continuing political tensions.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said at the weekend that it was now seeking $22.3 million for its “flash appeal” for Madagascar, a reduction from the $35.7 million it had earlier sought in April.
The agency has said that so far, nearly $11.7 million has been provided and UN agencies are hopeful to assist about 516,000 people with the funds raised in the appeal.
OCHA has also reported that the political crisis, which led to the resignation of the president in March, has had a less-than-expected impact on the provision of basic social services and development projects.
“Although to date the impact has not been as devastating as feared, the situation in Madagascar remains unstable and far from resolved,” OCHA added, stressing the need for a peaceful resolution to the political tensions. “The ongoing uncertainty is clearly exacerbating an already fragile economy weakened by the global economic recession.”
OCHA said Madagascar remains unprepared for the next cyclone season, with inadequate stocks of emergency goods and inefficient mechanisms to coordinate any emergency response. The Indian Ocean country is often battered by cyclones in the early months of the year.
The UN agency has also said that a strong rice harvest and stable prices for many basic goods have also contributed to an easing of the humanitarian situation, leaving fewer people in need of emergency assistance in Madagascar.
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