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European Commission - Press release

Madagascar: Commission launches 1 million emergency funding for victims of cyclones Giovanna and Irina

Brussels, 14 March 2012 - The 2012 cyclone season has triggered urgent humanitarian needs in Madagascar, to which the European Commission is responding with a €1 million emergency aid decision to help the most vulnerable with life-saving assistance such as water, health and shelter.

"Madagascar is exposed to high risk of tropical storms every year; these take a particularly high toll on the poorest people. We are helping the most vulnerable and the worst affected now, but it is equally important to boost disaster resilience for the future – this will diminish the impact of storms and will prevent new humanitarian emergencies," said Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

Severe tropical cyclone "Giovanna", followed by tropical storm "Irina", have hit Madagascar killing more than 100 people and badly affecting nearly 310,000 people. In some districts, more than half of the houses have been damaged or destroyed by landslides and floods. At least 100,000 people are in direct need of humanitarian aid. The Commission's support will reach the most affected victims through humanitarian partners working on the ground. Potential partners are CARE, UNICEF, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Mediar.

The cyclone Giovanna made landfall on 14 February in the south of Taomasina, a port city of 1 million inhabitants, affecting communities along a 120 km stretch of coastline. At least 35 people were killed and 240,000 were displaced. Two weeks later, on 26 February tropical storm Irina hit the south-eastern Iflandiana district and killed at least 72 people and affected 70,000. Madagascar is prone to cyclones and tropical storms, particularly during the rainy season between January and April.


The Commission takes emergency decisions to respond to crises where a rapid and flexible response is needed. These decisions span over six months and the amount of aid depends on the needs on the ground.

In 2011 the European Commission assisted Madagascar in response to the cyclone Bingiza in the Sava region and to the floods in the south-east part of the island. Madagascar benefits also from the European Commission Disaster Preparedness programme for Southern Africa known as "DIPECHO". In 2010-2011 the Commission allocated €5,5 million from the programme to prepare the population and national authorities for future disasters and to develop an adequate system for responding to them. In 2012 Madagascar will continue to benefit from the third phase of the programme.

For more information

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:

Contacts :

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)

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