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Disasters, Conflicts and Migration

Natural Disasters



Comments / Details



Since 2010, the regions most affected by drought are mainly the southern part (Atsimo Andrefana, Androy and Anosy) and the southeast of the island, including the Atsimo Atsinanana and Vatovavy Fitovinany Regions...

There are many factors influencing the establishment of drought periods: delay and insufficiency of rainfall, temperature rise in general, remoteness from the humid air currents of the Indian Ocean, which establishes a humid tropical climate on the east coast; the incoming air masses devoid of humidity under the effect of Foehn (by heating and then desiccation).

For three years, southern Madagascar has been facing a severe drought.

 In 2016, according to FAO estimates, 1.4 million people are food insecure in three regions of southern Madagascar (Anosy, Androy and Atsimo-Andrefana) where agricultural losses due to several years of drought will impact in the long-term ). Exceptionally, the center and the east of Madagascar are in a situation of drought, Sources dry up, the levels of lakes and dams are at their lowest.. The rainy season is due to start in December.


These problems affect the economy, first on agriculture: the rice fields are dry and the rain-fed agriculture is late. The prices are already rising in the markets Then, the power plants run in slow motion, which greatly disrupts the means of subsistence of a thousand persons.






- Infectious diseases remain the leading causes of morbidity and mortality for both adults and children. The main endemic diseases are malaria in coastal regions, pulmonary tuberculosis and intestinal and urinary schistosomiasis.

Currently, the Malagasy population lives in an environment where risk factors (poverty, pollution, unhealthy environment, climate change, increase and speed of international travel, political instability, etc.) contribute to the outbreak of the epidemic (seasonal and avian influenza, arbovirus, rabies, malaria, plague, etc.). Emerging and re-emerging diseases are causes of morbidity and mortality. The influenza, responsible for school and work absenteeism, respiratory and cardiovascular complications especially in the elderly and young children.


- Arboviruses can affect a considerable number of individuals and can lead to hemorrhagic forms responsible for high mortality. In June 2013, the outbreak of arboviruses with 109 suspected cases, including 8 confirmed cases in the Urban Commune of Antsiranana I was quickly controlled. No deaths were recorded due to the speed and effectiveness of the response.


- Plague is still endemic-epidemic in Madagascar and is causing an epidemic every year in some districts, despite efforts by health officials. In 2015, the plague season was very active and precocious as usual. Fatal cases have been reported since August, 52 human deaths recorded between August and December with a case fatality rate of 36% (higher than in other years). In 2017, Madagascar is facing one of the worst epidemics in its history, on the 1st of October, the WHO counted, on its part, 21 deaths and 114 suspect cases. "Unlike past epidemics, it affects large urban areas, increasing the risk of transmission. The number of cases identified so far is higher than expected at this time of year, "the organization said in a statement.


- Malaria, despite major improvements in recent years, remains a major public health problem in Madagascar. It represents the 8th cause of morbidity in 2011 at the CSB level. In 2013, 72 communes in 33 districts reported alerts. Children under five and pregnant women are the most vulnerable in endemic areas. All people living in areas of unstable transmission that move to areas of stable transmission are at risk of severe malaria due to lack of pre-munition.


- Poliomyelitis reappears in 2014 as the country was well on track to completely eradicate this epidemic.

Finally, Madagascar is threatened by epidemics of viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola or yellow fever, due to eco-epidemiological conditions and susceptibility of unfavorable populations.

Extreme Temperatures





Floods in Madagascar are usually characterized by: flooding of rivers due to abnormally intense rainfall, torrential rains in urban areas, or the failure of the drainage system causing flooding in cities, as the impermeable surface of the urban soil Increases the problems of flow, breaks of dams or constructions retaining water: the dikes for exemple.

These phenomena cause almost annually considerable damage to the country. For example, in January 2017 Atsimo Andrefana region, particularly Maromiandra commune of Tuléar II District, was affected by a flood caused by heavy rains causing the destruction of more than 800 ha of crop, leaving no prospect of Harvest for the inhabitants.

The most exposed areas are the Central Highlands (Analamanga, Alaotra Mangoro) where the soils are ferralitic and clayey and therefore are not very permeable and easily retain runoff.

But also in the coastal areas (Atsimo Andrefana, Atsimo Antsinanana, Vatovavy Fitovinany, Betsiboka, Menabe, Sofia) whose soils are generally clayey in character and which very quickly lose their absorptive capacity by saturation.

In many parts of the island, it is now essential to have good watershed management, urban drainage infrastructure, better planning in urban centers. It is also necessary to address the problem of informal occupations in flood-prone areas because this phenomenon exacerbates other causes associated with water absorption mechanisms.

Insect Infestation


The locust plague remains the most serious threat to insect infestation in Madagascar. This type of hazard is causing considerable damage to the crops of the crossing areas, thus reducing the profitability of the arable land and causing drought in the long term.

Grasshopper invasions can be attributed to a large part of the food shortage suffered by the majority of the regions of southern Madagascar: Atsimo-andrefana, Androy and Anosy.

The presence of desert locusts (Schistocerca gregarias) and locusts (Locusta migratorioid) is the most common.

Recently limited to the southern regions, the locust invasion began by gaining the highlands for about 3 years, whereas until then they had long been spared. The locusts reached the capital in 2014.

A National Committee for Control of Desert Locust (CNLA) was created by Decree 98-057 in 1998; And after the invasion from 1997 to 2000, this locust control was entrusted to the National Anti-locust Center (CNA). The CNA provides surveillance and preventive control.

According to the FAO, the impact of the locust invasion in 2013 in Madagascar on rice production losses could amount to 630 000 tonnes, about 25% of the total rice demand With serious implications for food and nutrition security and the livelihoods of the most vulnerable groups. Losses of rice and maize range from 40 to 70 percent in some areas of the country, and even 100 percent in some plots.



In Madagascar, the Analamanga region is considered to be the region most affected by the landslide, particularly in the Manjakamiadana hill. Nevertheless, according to the BNGRC (National Bureau of Risk and Disaster Management) which is in charge of monitoring this phenomenon, all the districts of the hills of Antananarivo-city are on the list of zones highly at risk.

The classic phenomenon of deforestation of mountain flanks due to clearing and agropastoral practices is the main cause of landslides, favored on the other hand by geological features. In addition, the specific features of the climate in certain zones do not favor the appearance of a significant vegetation that can protect the mountain flanks. Rockfall collapses and landslides are also observed in some parts of the country.

In March 2017, following the passage of cyclone ENAWO, the Maroantsetra district in the north-east of the Big Island was hit hard: "468 displaced persons, three deaths, four schools damaged and six injured following a landslide »

Volcanic Eruptions



High Waves / Surges





In Madagascar, forest and vegetation fires are generally characterized by the spread of bush fires, which are most often initiated by farmers seeking to clear new land for subsistence farming or by livestock farmers pushed new vegetation to feed their animals. These fires sometimes overflow to protected parks and forest areas.

The damage caused by wildland and forest fires is at a critical stage at national and regional levels and is the cause of the disappearance of several forest areas every year in Madagascar. In March 2017, Sohisika Reserve on Rn 4 in the Tampoketsa area of Ankazobe caught fire several hectares of which have been ravaged by flames.

The absence of a relevant monitoring system makes it difficult to detect these fires and prevent their spread.

High Winds


Madagascar is the first country most exposed to cyclones in Africa and the third most vulnerable country in the world to the effects of climate change.

More than 60% of the tropical cyclones forming in the basin directly or indirectly affect Madagascar, on average 1.5 cyclones a year crosses the country, generally affecting 2/3 of the country.Enawo - Mar. 2017; Cyclone Hellen - Mar. 2014; Cyclone Haruna - Feb. 2013; Cyclone Giovanna &  Tropical Storm Irina - Jan/Feb. 2012; Cyclone Bingiza – Feb 2011; Cyclone Hubert - Feb 2010; Cyclone Indlala - Mar 2007; Cyclone Favio - Feb 2007; Cyclone Bondo - Dec 2006; Cyclone Boloeste - Feb 2006, Cyclone Gafilo - Mar 2004, Cyclone Elita - Feb 2004; Tropical Cyclone Manou - May 2003; Tropical Cyclone Kesiny - May 2002; Tropical Cyclone Hary - Mar 2002; Tropical Storm Cyprien - Jan 2002; Cyclone Hudah - Apr 2000; Cyclone Eline and Gloria - Feb 2000.

Other Comments


Man-Made Issues

Civil Strife



International Conflict



Internally Displaced Persons



Refugees Present



Landmines / UXO Present



Other Comments


For a more detailed database on disasters by country, please see the Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters Country Profile.

Seasonal Effects on Logistics Capacities

Seasonal Effects on Transport


Transport Type

Time Frame

Comments / Details

Primary Road Transport

All year

Only around 10% of the primary roads are paved and half of these 10% suffer of a lack of maintenance.

Only the paved part is accessible all year long, the other part are mostly passable only during the dry season.


Secondary Road Transport

From December

To June

Most of them are very difficult or unpredictable during the rainy season.


Rail Transport

All year

The railway is not very developed and the network suffer from a lack of investment and maintenance.

Most of the railways sections experienced temporary closures during the year due to problems on the network and infrastructures.


Air Transport

All year

With 126 airports, the territory is well covered and practicable all year long. If 29 airstrips are paved, the other are clay, and need confirmation before to land during the rainy season.


Waterway Transport

All year

Water transport is working without interruption all year long.



Due to the geography of the island, the climate of Madagascar is very variable. Generally, there are two seasons in Madagascar: a very hot rainy season from November to April, and a cooler dry season from May to October.

-       The east coast is the wettest part of the country; this is where the tropical forest lies. This area is also regularly affected by tropical storms and devastating cyclones which affect the transport network and makes some parts inaccessible during some month.

-       The plateaus of the Center are much colder and drier, most of it is crossed by paved roads.

-       The West Coast is home to dry deciduous forest. The road network is very poor, most of the places are very difficult to access by road even during the dry season and become almost un-reachable during the rainy season.

-       Southern Madagascar has the driest climate of the island, the road network is mainly unpaved and in a very bad condition: rain is rare but makes roads inaccessible when it comes.

Capacity and Contacts for In-Country Emergency Response


-  The BNGRC (Bureau National de Gestion des Risques et des Catastrophes) has been created to handle disasters and risks. It replaces the CNS (Conseil National de Secours) since 2006. The National office is supervising Regional (BRGRC) offices and is still working on improving the capacity of Regional and District bodies to manage risks and disasters. With the contribution of all partners involved in risks and disaster management and strong support from OCHA, BNGRC has finalized a contingency plan in early 2008. The contingency plan is a helpful document with guidelines on how to assess and then respond to disasters, it contains information, contacts and data to fast respond in emergency situations. BNGRC has deployed VHF radios (BLU) to most districts and has pre-positioned food and non-food items in selected areas.

-  The CPC (Corps de Protection Civile) is organized on an army-like body and has a staff crew of 258 rescuers. It is fully equipped and the rescuers are ready to be dispatched (see equipment list below). The CPC do intervenes on BNGRC request and has access to army resources when needed.

For more information on government contact details, please see the following link: 4.1 Government Contact List

Humanitarian Community

The humanitarian cluster teams have been set up under the directive of the IASC (Interagency Standing Committee / Comité Permanent Interagence). During the critical time of the political crisis of 2009 the Humanitarian Country Team was activated under the guidance of the United Nations agencies, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent and the three big NGO coalition members of IASC on global level. The HCT normally meets every second month and is chaired by BCR (Bureau de Coordinateur résident) who together with OCHA ensures the administration.

 The CRIC  (Comité Restreint d’Intervention en cas de Catastrophe) is a committee whose meetings aim at assesings and addressing a disaster. CRIC decisions will legitimate actions to be taken in case of disaster. CRIC meetings are normally organized at the BNGRC meeting room and shared either by BNGRC or OCHA.

 For more information on humanitarian agency contact details, please see the following link: 4.2 Humanitarian Agency Contact List