Aerial view of the northern part of Nosy Varik after Cyclone Batsirai hit Madagascar on 5 February. Madagascar, 8 February 2022.
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Cyclone Batsirai leaves people vulnerable to food shortages and malaria

On Tuesday, February 15, 2022

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Earlier this week, two MSF teams visited the affected areas to assess needs and organise the response. In Fianarantsoa, 25 health structures were damaged by the passage of Batsirai and part of the city is completely inaccessible after a bridge collapsed. In this area, the population might not have access to healthcare in the coming weeks.

Continuing east towards the cyclone's impact point, our teams saw the damage caused by the strong cyclonic winds.

The state of the roads is getting worse as we go, and many of them are still being cleared. The roads are unstable, sometimes with a deep hole under the asphalt, and can collapse at any time," explains Joaquin Noterdaeme, MSF logistic coordinator.

Map of MSF exploratory missions after Cyclone Batsirai - February 2022

Mananjary, a town hit hard by the cyclone, is largely destroyed.

The hospital is no longer functioning, five health centres are completely destroyed in the area and the roofs of 35 other structures have been blown off. The hospital patients have been evacuated to a clinic opened urgently to receive them" continues Joaquin Noterdaeme.

Access to Nosy Varika, a coastal town about 100 km north of Mananjary, is very difficult because of rising waters and blocked roads, delaying the arrival of rescue workers. The hospital has been destroyed and the town was still without electricity last night when the MSF team arrived on the scene. As for the most remote areas, other means must be put in place to continue the assessments: "we will leave by speedboat to reach certain health centres that are inaccessible by road, while other regions can only be reached by motorbike”. An MSF convoy loaded with hygiene products and passing through the north of Nosy Varika had to board ferries three times to cross the flooded roads and finally reach Masomeloka on February 10. The village pharmacy was flooded and the health centre was affected by the rising waters. The teams also saw a lot of damage to the fields and fruit trees, raising fears about the consequences on access to food.

Mananjary Hospital, 11 February 2022. Road between Ifanadiana and Mananjary. Intense tropical cyclone Batisrai hit Madagascar and made landfall near the town of Mananjary on the morning of Saturday 5 February 2022.
In Ankatafana, a fishing village, many houses and the health centre, which had just been built and was about to open, were destroyed.

“Dans les zones difficilement accessibles, une augmentation du prix du riz est aussi déjà constatée, ce qui peut entraîner une aggravation de la situation alimentaire si rien n’est fait”, conclut Joaquin Noterdaeme. “

La montée et la stagnation des eaux nous font craindre des flambées épidémiques de paludisme dans les semaines à venir. De plus, on nous rapporte déjà une augmentation du nombre de cas de diarrhées et d’infections respiratoires.”

Les conséquences médicales de ces inondations et des nombreuses destructions sont déjà tangibles. 

A ce stade, les évaluations se poursuivent dans les zones les plus éloignées et le détail des activités reste à définir. Nous orientons notre réponse vers un soutien médical aux zones sinistrées, en coordination avec les autres organisations présentes sur place. Une arrivée de médicaments et de matériel supplémentaire est prévue dans les prochains jours. 

"In areas difficult to access, an increase in the price of rice has already been observed, which may lead to a worsening of the food situation if nothing is done," concludes Joaquin Noterdaeme.

The rising and stagnant waters make us fear malaria outbreaks in the coming weeks. In addition, we are already seeing reports of an increase in the number of cases of diarrhea and respiratory infections”. The medical consequences of the floods and the widespread destruction are already tangible.

At this stage, assessments are still being carried out in the most remote areas and the details of the activities are yet to be defined. The medical consequences of the floods and the widespread destruction are already tangible.

We are focusing our response on providing medical support to the affected areas, in coordination with other organisations already on the ground. An arrival of additional medicines and equipment is expected in the coming days.

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