On 9 March 2017 at 14h45, Madagascar experienced the Tropical Cyclone known as the Enawo cyclone at the tempest stage. It crossed the island through the regions of Sava, Analanjirofo, Alaotra Mangoro, Atsinanana, Analamanga, Vakinankaratra, Bongolava, Itsay, Ihombre, Amoron’i Mania, Haute Matsiatra, Vatovavy Fitovinany. Approximately 760,000 people were affected both directly and indirectly by this intense tropical cyclone.
The Malagasy Red Cross Society gave an initial situation update on the impact of the cyclone and the floods during the evening of first impact:
No. of people dead: 8
No. of people missing: 2
No. of people injured: 10
No. of people displaced: 14,900
Houses damaged by flood water:703
Houses damaged by the cyclone: 883
Houses decoupled: 611.
As news updates gained momentum the death toll had risen to 50, after the cyclone had passed and moved back to the Indian ocean heading to Mozambique. The Cyclone Enawo was expected to be the strongest tropical cyclone to hit Madagascar in three years following the last cyclone (Cyclone Hellen) that made landfall in March 2014.
With all this information, some YMCA participants under the YAC program did experience the impact of the cyclone, but thankfully, were unharmed. Being based in the central region of Madagascar (Antananarivo) there were regions like Manjakandrina that were totally flooded, Ambatolampikely and Carion that had mudslides and damaged houses due to the cyclone. The youth in the area joined hands to come up with a mini-campaign in order to sensitize their communities on the impacts of the cyclone and what to do in such situations.
YMCA carried out a clean-up campaign in the three different places. Fliers were distributed for more information on what to do and what not to do. Water purifiers were also issued to the community so that they can purify their drinking and household water at large to avoid contraction of waterborne diseases. This provided an opportunity for door-to-door environmental and health information sensitisation.
The coastal region was more seriously affected and the YMCA was challenged in terms of accessibility because most of the roads were quite flooded. The national authorities of Madagascar, however, were addressing the situation and succeeded in getting the situation under control.
As a Young Advocate for Change, this actual experience has made one aware of the importance of what we do as a YMCA. This experience has served to reinforce that though many challenges and situations arise which are beyond human control, that what does exist within our control is the ability to rally together, combine our strengths and skills to help and make a difference and effect change right where we are. For the purpose of a better today and tomorrow for mankind.
Source: Lorine Amondi
Photo Credits: Wandile Buthelezi and Joe Rafalimanana