In January, Tropical Storm Chedza hit the central and southern regions of Madagascar and caused intense flooding in central and southern regions of the country.
The island, which features diverse landscapes of highlands, desert-like plains, rainforests and sandy beaches, often suffers from a number of natural disasters such as storms, cyclones, flood, drought and locust infestations.
Of these environmental disasters, cyclones and floods have proven to be the most threatening. From November to May, the cyclone season lingers on the world’s fourth largest island, as widespread flooding damages infrastructure, destroys crops and threatens local food security.
Following Tropical Storm Chedza, a team of ShelterBox response volunteers, comprising Mark Boeck (UK) and Harry Roberts (UK), were sent to Madagascar to assess the extent of the flood damage and the need for shelter.
The storm, which followed weeks of bad weather and heavy rains, is reported to have left more than 45,000 people without homes and has affected more than 134,000 people and their crops in total.
ShelterBox already had prepositioned supplies in Madagascar, so the team worked with the Madagascan National Bureau of Risk and Disaster Management (known by the French acronym BNGRC) to contribute to their response.
In total, 40 ShelterBox tents were distributed in the western region of Menabe and 90 tents were distributed in the Madagascan capital of Antananarivo.
One of those recipients was Ernestine Lravaomalala, who lives with her family in Antananarivo. She said: ‘The rains started at the end of December and because of the heavy rainfall, the flooding was intensified by the Tropical Storm Chedza. The water came into the house and soon we were up to our knees.
‘Even though the water was getting dangerously higher, we stayed in our home until a ShelterBox tent arrived. At the time, the children were very sick; they all had headaches, sore throats and coughs. The tent has enabled us to keep dry and warm.’
Now that the water is beginning to recede and the soil is starting to dry out, Ernestine and her family hope to return to their home soon. However, for now, three generations of this family can keep warm and dry thanks to a ShelterBox tent.
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