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Country analysis

Madagascar


Madagascar is prone to natural hazards (e.g. cyclones, floods, drought) given its location in the southwestern Indian Ocean Basin. Poverty, rain-fed agriculture reliance, limited water resources, and inadequate infrastructure have weakened its resilience to such hazards.

The Grand Sud (Androy, Anosy, and Atsimo-Andrefana regions) and the eastern regions of Atsimo-Atsinanana and Vatovavy Fitovinany have been experiencing the worst drought in 40 years. As a result, an estimated 1.3 million people (17% of the population analysed) experienced Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse food insecurity in the Grand Sud and Grand Sud-Est between October 2023 and January 2024. This number is projected to increase to 1.7 million, including 119,000 facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels, from February–April 2024.

Rainfall is expected to be below average in central and southern Madagascar from November 2023 to April 2024, which may worsen the current drought.

In 2023, two tropical storms (Cyclones Freddy and Cheneso) hit Madagascar. Cyclone Freddy was one of the strongest and longest-lasting cyclones ever recorded in the country and made landfall twice. These cyclones caused floods, livelihood losses, landslides, displacement, and deaths. More recently, Cyclone Alvaro made landfall in January 2024, increasing the need for humanitarian assistance in affected areas.

(UNDRR 03/07/2019, IPC 18/01/2024, FEWS NET 05/01/2024, Worlddata.info accessed 08/02/2024, WFP 19/01/2024)

Madagascar is prone to natural hazards (e.g. cyclones, floods, drought) given its location in the southwestern Indian Ocean Basin. Poverty, rain-fed agriculture reliance, limited water resources, and inadequate infrastructure have weakened its resilience to such hazards.

The Grand Sud (Androy, Anosy, and Atsimo-Andrefana regions) and the eastern regions of Atsimo-Atsinanana and Vatovavy Fitovinany have been experiencing the worst drought in 40 years. As a result, an estimated 1.3 million people (17% of the population analysed) experienced Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse food insecurity in the Grand Sud and Grand Sud-Est between October 2023 and January 2024. This number is projected to increase to 1.7 million, including 119,000 facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels, from February–April 2024.

Rainfall is expected to be below average in central and southern Madagascar from November 2023 to April 2024, which may worsen the current drought.

In 2023, two tropical storms (Cyclones Freddy and Cheneso) hit Madagascar. Cyclone Freddy was one of the strongest and longest-lasting cyclones ever recorded in the country and made landfall twice. These cyclones caused floods, livelihood losses, landslides, displacement, and deaths. More recently, Cyclone Alvaro made landfall in January 2024, increasing the need for humanitarian assistance in affected areas.

(UNDRR 03/07/2019, IPC 18/01/2024, FEWS NET 05/01/2024, Worlddata.info accessed 08/02/2024, WFP 19/01/2024)

Latest updates on country situation

06 February 2024

IPC projects that between February–April 2024, around 1.7 million people will experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse food insecurity levels, including 119,000 facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels, as a result of the lean season (December–April). This is an increase from the previous quarter (October 2023 to January 2024), which registered 1.3 million people facing IPC 3 or worse levels. (IPC 18/01/2024, ACAPS accessed 07/02/2024)

11 January 2024

Tropical Cyclone Alvaro made landfall over the southwestern-central coast of Madagascar on 1 January 2024 and crossed the southern-central regions on 2 January. As at 5 January, it had displaced more than 9,500 people to 36 evacuation centres, affected almost 26,000 people, and led to ten recorded fatalities. The worst-hit regions are Atsimo-Andrefana, Fitovinany, Ihorombe, Matsiatra, and Menabe. Access remains limited in some municipalities. (L'express 11/01/2024, ECHO 05/01/2024)

07 November 2023

Food insecurity is projected to increase in the first quarter of next year. From January to April 2024, an estimated 1.72 million people will face IPC Phase 3 and above, an increase of 397,500 people (23% increase) mainly due to cyclones, floods, and heavy rainfall.
(IPC 22/08/2023, FEWS NET Accessed 09/11/2023)

28 July 2023

The current drought, the worst in 40 years, and the devastating impacts of Cyclones Freddy and Cheneso in 2023 have heightened the risk of famine in southern Madagascar and have had major impacts on agricultural land. Crops have been destroyed during their early stages of growth and germination, resulting in livelihood loss and aggravating food insecurity in the region. In 2023, 3.9 million people, including nearly 500,000 children, face critical food shortages. From August–October 2023, 59,000 are expected to face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity. The affected population urgently needs food, NFIs, shelter, protection, education, WASH, and health services. (USAID 12/05/2023, ECHO accessed 01/08/2023, IPC 04/01/2023)

28 April 2023

Madagascar is currently experiencing a humanitarian emergency as a result of Cyclone Freddy in 2023, Cyclones Batsirai and Emnati in 2022, and a devastating drought in the Grand Sud from 2020–2022. These events have caused significant damage to crops, arable land, and livestock, resulting in the loss of livelihoods and worsened food insecurity.


Approximately 3.86 million people are in urgent need of assistance, including more than 454,900 children who require treatment for acute malnutrition. The health system was already under strain, and these recurring crises only aggravate the situation. The emergency has resulted in a pressing need for food, health, shelter, WASH, and protection services.


(OCHA 28/04/2023, FEWS NET 31/03/2022, FAO 18/08/2022)

06 April 2023

Tropical Cyclone Freddy made two landfalls on 21 February and 4 March 2023, affecting approximately 299,000 people, displacing over 70,000 people, killing 17 people, destroying homes, and causing major damage to public infrastructure. Those displaced are mostly hosted in schools, some of which were already previously affected by Cyclone Cheneso. Those affected are in need of WASH facilities, shelter, food, and NFIs. (WFP 06/04/2023, ECHO 15/03/2023)

23 March 2023

On 21 February 2023, and again on 4 March, Cyclone Freddy landed on the southeastern and southwestern coastal regions of Madagascar, affecting an estimated 266,000 people, displacing more than 87,000, and killing 17. The cyclone destroyed homes and property, damaging roads and power and communication lines and hindering aid operations in these regions. On 21 February, schools were indefinitely suspended in the ten regions most affected by the cyclone. The affected population urgently needs food, NFI, shelter, protection, education, WASH, and health services.
(NYT 09/03/2023, IFRC 23/03/2023, WFP 08/03/2023, npr 14/03/2023)

current crises
in Madagascar


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

MDG008 - Tropical cyclone Freddy

Last updated 31/01/2024


Drivers

Cyclone

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

2.7 Medium

Access constraints

2.0

MDG001 - Country level

Last updated 31/01/2024


Drivers

Drought
Cyclone

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

2.9 Medium

Access constraints

2.0

MDG002 - Drought

Last updated 31/01/2024


Drivers

Drought

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

2.5 Medium

Access constraints

1.0

REG012 - Southern Africa Regional Food Security Crisis

Last updated 31/01/2024


Drivers


Crisis level

Regional

Severity level

3.9 High

Access constraints

4.0

Analysis products
on Madagascar

Madagascar: cyclone exposure and vulnerabilities

19 January 2024

Madagascar: cyclone exposure and vulnerabilities

DOCUMENT / PDF / 861 KB

This report provides an overview of the country’s cyclone exposure based on historical data from 2000–2023, its cyclone vulnerabilities, and its response capacities, aiming to inform strategic planning and anticipatory action.

Natural hazards
Madagascar: Tropical Cyclone Freddy exposure and vulnerabilities

22 February 2023

Madagascar: Tropical Cyclone Freddy exposure and vulnerabilities

DOCUMENT / PDF / 4 MB

The report aims to provide a brief overview of the key regions exposed to Tropical Cyclone Freddy and highlight existing vulnerabilities that might increase the needs of the exposed population.

Natural hazardsCoping mechanisms
Madagascar: Food insecurity crisis in the Grand Sud regions

10 March 2022

Madagascar: Food insecurity crisis in the Grand Sud regions

DOCUMENT / PDF / 575 KB

The report aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the main drivers of the current food insecurity situation in the Grand Sud and its impact on affected households across humanitarian response sectors. The report also provides an overview of coping mechanisms used by people in need, which have further adverse effects. 

Coping mechanismsFood security & livelihoods
Madagascar: Tropical Cyclone Enawo

13 March 2017

Madagascar: Tropical Cyclone Enawo

DOCUMENT / PDF / 542 KB

Tropical Cyclone Enawo, equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, made landfall over Antalaha district, in the northeastern coast of Madagascar, on 7 March. As of 13 March, at least 100,000 people have been directly affected by the cyclone, approximately half of whom are in Antalaha district. 

Natural hazards
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