ANTANANARIVO, June 28, 2011 /African Press Organization/ -- The impact of Cyclone Bingiza continues to be felt by thousands of people living in the coastal areas of Madagascar more than three months after it initially struck. The European Commission has allocated 200,000 euros to CARE France for emergency response activities to the benefit of those most affected.
'Apart from the immediate and visible destruction that cyclones like Bingiza deliver, there are floods that vulnerable people must endure for weeks afterwards,' said Cees Wittebrood, Head of Unit for East, West & Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean in the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO). This is particularly so in one of the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Mr Wittebrood added: 'Food prices increase because of missed or ruined harvests, while damaged roads limit access to alternative food markets and health facilities, thereby increasing the potential for disease outbreaks.'
European Commission funding supports the activities of partner relief organisations like CARE France who are also involved in disaster risk reduction (DRR) programmes in Madagascar all year round. This particular funding allocation is an emergency response that builds on existing disaster risk reduction efforts. Activities implemented through this grant will benefit about 40,000 people living in four districts in the north eastern part of the country.
'Though we cannot prevent natural disasters, we can strengthen the coping capacity of populations at risk,' explained Cees Wittebrood, 'One way to do so is by investing in training members of local risk management committees so that they will be better prepared to respond to the impact of cyclones in the future.'
The European Commission, through its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), has provided €6.2 million to disaster risk reduction programmes in Madagascar from 2008 until 2011. ECHO works with many different partners on the ground, including UN agencies and non-governmental relief organisations.