Cyclone Haruna hit south-west Madagascar in mid-February 2013, while many people on the east coast were still recovering from Cyclone Felleng, which had struck on 30 January.
Haruna killed 75 people and injured many more. It caused widespread damage to housing, power lines, schools and other infrastructure. Our members took part in the nationally coordinated emergency response.
Many people were evacuated to safety from some of the worst-affected areas before Haruna hit, and we helped provide rescue support and immediate life-saving humanitarian assistance to those who were affected.
Our response reached out to 1,200 families. We sourced food for distribution from 900km away in the capital Antananarivo (supplies having been washed away elsewhere).
We distributed rice and vegetables, non-food items such as soap, medicines, water-treatment kits, tents, candles, clothes and blankets, amid significant challenges in some areas where roads had been washed away.
Due to damaged sanitation systems and high floodwaters, cases of malaria, dysentery and diarrhoea began to rise.
The flood created good conditions for locusts to breed, which led to locust swarms that affected half of the country’s farmland – causing crop destruction, food shortages and high food prices over many months. Japhet Asukile, convenor of the ACT Forum in Madagascar, highlighted the role of climate change in the increasing weather disasters.
He said: “Climate change is affecting us. There are more cyclones now, which is what climate change scientists have predicted. It is happening now. To say it is having a negative impact is an understatement. We have to be aware of this trend and plan our work around increased risks from climate change.”