More than 1,100 people–mostly children–have died due to an escalating measles outbreak which has spread to all 22 regions of Madagascar. At least 79,000 cases were reported between 03 September 2018 and 28 February 2019. The total number of people affected by the outbreak could be even higher, as cases at the community level are often under reported. Given the high levels of chronic malnutrition–47 per cent of children under age 5 in Madagascar are malnourished–children in Madagascar face heightened risks of serious complications and death from measles. A mass vaccination campaign has been mobilised, with more than 3.3 million children reached to date, and cases have begun to decrease in 25 districts targeted by the vaccination campaign. Meanwhile, a reduction in plague cases was reported, with only seven districts reporting new cases in February.
Some 1.3 million people are projected to be severely food insecure in Madagascar through to March 2019, more than 366,000 of whom are facing emergency (IPC phase 4). In southern Madagascar, although farmers expanded cropped areas after heavy rains in December and January, many poor farmers lacked the means to buy seeds and other inputs. Meanwhile, western Madagascar received below-average rains for the third consecutive year, leading to significant losses in rice production.
The cyclone season affected more than 9,400 people in January and February, including over 3,200 who were temporarily displaced. In January, Tropical Storm Eketsang caused floods and landslides during its passage near Madagascar’s south-west coast. In the capital,
Antananarivo, landslides killed at least 31 people. In February, 46 people were reportedly killed by flash floods that affected two villages in Ampanihy and Betioky districts. The 2018–19 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season is expected to last until the end of April.