Cyclone Batsirai hits Madagascar: Switzerland deploys specialists and equipment
Bern, 07.02.2022 - Ten days after being battered by a tropical storm, Madagascar is facing a new disaster. Cyclone Batsirai, which made landfall on Saturday evening, has caused major damage. After powerful winds, with gusts exceeding 200 km/h, torrential rains flooded many parts of the country. Switzerland is deploying specialists from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit, as well as equipment for clean drinking water and to help reduce the risk of the spread of water-borne diseases.
Winds measured at more than 200 km/h hit the east coast of Madagascar last Saturday. Cyclone Batsirai has caused major damage, with torrential rains giving rise to flooding and landslides in several regions. A tropical storm had already swept the country about ten days ago. According to initial estimates by local authorities, more than 180’000 people have been affected by this disaster.
Expertise and equipment
In view of the scale of the needs, Switzerland is deploying a team of five specialists from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit, which comes under the FDFA, including three water and sanitation specialists. The team left Switzerland yesterday and will initially bolster the activities of the NGO Medair. They will make their initial assessment and prepare for the reception of more than two tonnes of material that will be shipped from Switzerland in the coming days. This consignment will consist mainly of equipment for the analysis, disinfection and distribution of drinking water.
Humanitarian needs are already considerable
Although Madagascar is not one of its priority countries, the SDC already supports a number of projects in Madagascar. These are operated by Swiss Humanitarian Aid through a significant commitment of the Swiss embassy in Antananarivo. For the past year, Madagascar has been suffering the consequences of an unprecedented drought, particularly in the south of the country. In 2021, the FDFA had already disbursed more than CHF 2 million to fight against food insecurity. The aim now is to leverage synergies with ongoing programmes, particularly those of the NGO Medair, to meet the new needs created by Cyclone Batsirai. The FDFA has already allocated CHF 300,000 to supporting the emergency response. Depending on the needs on the ground, this amount may be revised upwards.
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