Foreword by the United Nations Resident Coordinator
The Grand Sud of Madagascar is facing its most acute drought in 40 years, accentuated by the effects of sandstorms, army worms and locusts. Between October 2020 and January 2021, less than 50 per cent of the normal rainfall was received in the Grand Sud, causing devastating damages to agricultural production during the main harvest in May-June 2021, with losses of up to 60 per cent in three of the most populated districts (Amboasary, Ambovombe and Ampanihy). This was the second consecutive year of severe drought in the Grand Sud.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Government of Madagascar for its leadership in the management of this humanitarian crisis. In October 2020, the Government established its National Response Plan to respond to the drought. This was followed by the establishment of medical and nutritional rehabilitation centres, the organization of several "Grand Sud Caravans" to deliver humanitarian aid, the creation of Anti-‘Kere’ Operational Command Centres (CCOK) to strengthen local coordination and recently the development of the Emergency Plan for the Grand Sud. The Government also reached more than 102,730 people through cash transfers delivered via its shock responsive social protection programme. These commendable initiatives have responded to the immediate humanitarian needs, while also laying the foundation for longer-term resilience and development in the Grand Sud.
In addition to the Government's National Response Plan, humanitarian partners have reached more than 840,000 people under the initial Flash Appeal launched jointly in January 2021.
About 736,000 people received food assistance and livelihood support; more than 90,400 children under age 5 and pregnant and lactating women were provided with vital nutritional support and/ or treatment; over 217,800 people were assisted to access safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene; more than 142 400 children and women received health and antenatal care; and more than 93,000 children could access education through school kits.
I sincerely thank all of the donors who have contributed to the January-May 2021 Flash Appeal, which was generously funded.
At least 53 per cent of funding was received, according to local tracking, highlighting the solidarity of international partners with people in the Grand Sud.
However, following the failure of the 2020/2021 rainy season, the needs remain tremendous and will continue at least until the next agricultural harvest in May 2022. Within this context, I acknowledge and appreciate the initiative of the National Office of Disaster Risk Management for having revised and extended, with the participation of humanitarian actors, the National Response Plan. The National Plan now aims to provide multisectoral assistance for 1.6 million people for the next 12 months (June 2021-May 2022). In complement to the National Plan, and in consultation with the country's authorities, humanitarian partners have similarly revised and extended our initial Flash Appeal to mobilize additional resources and extend life-saving and lifesustaining action from June 2021 to May 2022.
The Flash Appeal—focused on the humanitarian needs of people affected by the drought—also took into consideration the resilience approach, according to the specificities of the three areas of the Grand Sud, including the coastal areas, where access to water is very difficult and livelihoods are limited; the intermediate agropastoral sedimentary zone; and the northern zone. On the other hand, this Appeal will support existing Government structures, in particular the National Office for Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC), which ensures coordination; the Nutritional and Medical Rehabilitation Centre (CRNM); and the Food Bank.
Under the revised Flash Appeal, humanitarian partners will target 1.31 million people, in complement to the Government’s response under the National Response Plan. This includes 1.31 million people targeted with food assistance, 807,500 people with access to clean water, 251,340 malnourished children with nutritional support, 213,000 people with free availability of basic health care services and 31,000 pregnant women with sexual and reproductive healthcare, 1,440 survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), 279,000 children exposed to child labour, 85,300 girls between the ages of 12 and 17 at risk of early marriage, and 567,000 students with educational support during the 2021-2022 school year. Humanitarian partners will also strengthen operational coordination of the response on the ground.
The revised Flash Appeal calls for an additional US$154.6 million for life-saving and life-sustaining action by humanitarian partners in the next 12 months. JI solemnly appeal to all partners on the absolute necessity to act immediately in order to save lives, restore livelihoods and reinforce the resilience of communities impacted by the drought. About 1.6 million people are now in need of urgent assistance, and the number of people projected to face Catastrophic (IPC Phase 5) food insecurity set to rise to nearly 28,000 in October 2021, there is simply no time to waste.
Finally, I would also like to commend the Government's initiative in organizing a Colloquium for the Emergence of the Grand Sud.
To complement the humanitarian response, this initiative aims at addressing the root causes of the crisis in the Grand Sud by bringing together innovative resilience and development projects and approaches.
Issa Sanog United Nations Resident Coordinator for Madagascar