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As Floods Inundate Madagascar, Government Is Slow to Provide Relief

Pictures of floods in the Antananarivo region via twitter user @saveoursmile  with permission

Pictures of floods in the Antananarivo region via Twitter user @saveoursmile with permission

Locusts, plague, waste disposal issues, famine and now floods. Madagascar has been going through extremely difficult times, but none of that has shaken the morale of Malagasy people, just as the country’s stagnant economy hasn’t prevented its people from innovating and creating.

Antananarivo and other towns in the area have been on high alert following the floods that hit the region after torrential rains. The flooding reached tragic proportions on 26 February, when one of the dykes surrounding the capital burst. Other dykes subsequently collapsed, causing extensive damage throughout the region.

Residents, who have already had to endure the unrelenting dilapidation of the roads, are left wondering what new challenges they are going to have to face.

Official authorities report that as of March 3, 20 people have died, at least 41,581 people had their home affected by the floods, and 71,854 people have been displaced. 

Floods in Antananarivo posted by @MiranaPriscilla on twitter (with her permission)

Floods in Antananarivo posted by @MiranaPriscilla on Twitter (used with her permission)

The government has already received a fair amount of criticism for suggesting that residents should use public transport to solve the traffic problems caused by the state of the roads. Now there are delays in disaster relief and the government does not seem to have any suggestions. While waiting, residents have been documenting the damage caused by the floods with hashtags such as #tondradrano and #madaflood

Le Sud de la capitale dévasté par les eaux via page facebook L'Express

The south of the capital devastated by floods via L’Express Facebook page

A video by Global Voices editor Avylavitra shows the extent of the rising floodwaters in the capital Ankadimbahoaka. Click on the screen capture to watch on YouTube:

tondradrano video

Avylavitra added that his own house was affected by this disaster:

N'ose même pas prendre en photo ma maison qui s'est effondrée pendant la pluie d'avant-hier. putaiiiiiiiiiiin! ‪#‎Madagascar‬ ‪#‎madaflood‬ ‪#‎madadobodrano‬ ‪#‎tondradrano‬

Dare not even take a photo of my house, which collapsed in the rain the day before yesterday. Daaamn! ‪#‎Madagascar‬ ‪#‎madaflood‬ ‪#‎madadobodrano‬ ‪#‎tondradrano‬

Another dramatic video by John Radriarimalala posted on Facebook shows the rising flood waters in the town of Ampanefy:

tondradrano video2

As does this one by Mbolatahina Raharijaona taken from the centre of the town:

tondradrano video 3

Tsimok'i Gasikara's blog describes the state of alert of the people living near the dykes:

C’est l’Atsimondrano (Sud de Tana) qui est actuellement la plus touchée. Les secouristes font appel à la solidarité de tous pour apporter leur aide, preuve que les secours sont insuffisants. C’est donc le chaos total qui règne dans la ville voire même dans tout le pays. La population qui est livrée à elle-même au milieu des ordures qui n’ont pas été ramassées depuis belle lurette, les habitations inondées, les routes défoncées et pour couronner le tout, le prix des PPN qui flambe. Le pays se noie entièrement au sens propre comme au sens figuré !

Currently, Atsimondrando (southern Tana) is the worst affected area. Rescue workers are calling for everyone to show solidarity in providing assistance, which indicates that the response so far has been inadequate. So there is a state of total chaos in the town, indeed the whole country. People have been left to fend for themselves amidst rubbish that hasn’t been collected for ages, flooded homes, rough roads, and on top of all that, the price of basic essentials is soaring. The country is going under completely, in both the literal and figurative senses of the word!

Although the inventory of damage is far from complete, photos of the buildings in the capital speak for themselves. In the Isotry district via Tahina Rakotomanarivo:

Quartier Isotry par Tahina

Isotry district by Tahina

In Ankadilalalana, where an entire family perished under the rubble of a house, via Amirale Ernest:

Bâtiment délabré à Antananarivo via Amirale Ernest

Dilapidated building in Antananarivo via Amirale Ernest

This photo illustrates the state of disrepair of the region’s roads:

route delabrée via Andry sur Facebook

Devastated road via Andry on Facebook

It may well be that in the short term, residents will have no one to rely on but themselves to overcome these obstacles. But it is becoming quite urgent for the displaced population that national solidarity for rescue and recovery get started as soon as possible. 

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