Cyclones Batsirai and Emnati in Madagascar: how the private sector is responding

Source(s): Connecting Business initiative

´The Madagascar Private Sector Humanitarian Platform (PSHP), a member of the OCHA/UNDP Connecting Business initiative, is actively engaged in the humanitarian response to the cyclones that hit the south-east coast of the country in February.

PSHP is now mobilizing its members to support early recovery activities in the most affected areas.  

“Through its network of 50 private companies operating in Madagascar, the PSHP plays a key role on the front line of crisis response. We were able to help transport relief assistance and response teams at a time when access was a major constraint for humanitarian partners,” said Vio Razafindrakoto, PSHP Programme Manager. 

Madagascar has been hit by a series of devastating storms in just one month: Tropical Storm Ana (22 January), Tropical Cyclone Batsirai (5 February), Tropical Storm Dumako (16 February) and Tropical Cyclone Emnati (23 February) killed a total of 205 people and displaced thousands. Both cyclones hit almost the same area in the south-east part of the country, causing heavy flooding and destruction to homes and critical infrastructure. More than 420,000 people have been affected, with more than 23,000 houses destroyed, damaged or flooded by Emnati alone.

The humanitarian response, led by the Government through its National Disaster Management Office, the BNGRC, has focused on providing emergency assistance to displaced families who sought refuge in temporary shelters such as schools, train stations or warehouses, often lacking basic water and sanitation facilities.  

The private sector has been actively involved in the response. Major businesses in Madagascar have contributed directly to the Ministries of Education, Transportation and Population, through financial and in-kind contributions. The BNGRC has collected in-kind contributions from businesses big and small, through its wide call to solidarity, and organized food distribution in the affected regions.  

Assistance Plus, a PSHP member, sent in-kind donations that were dispatched by trucks provided by EDM, another platform member. The SNC-Lavalin Sumitomo Group Ambatovy provided its company airplane to transport humanitarian staff to the affected area. Fondation Axian took part in a medical caravan organized by the Ministry of Health. Other PSHP members, like Star Network and Imperial Brands, have mobilized financial contributions amounting to US$100,000. Viamo, a social enterprise that is part of PSHP, sent more than 10,000 early warning SMS messages ahead of both cyclones. Telma, via its mobile money branch, has supported the cash transfer programme, currently targeting 108,000 households.  

“Involving the private sector in relief operations is essential to ensuring a localized and effective approach to the humanitarian response,” said Priscilla Lecomte, Connecting Business initiative Communication Specialist and member of the OCHA / UNDAC Emergency Response Team deployed in Madagascar after Batsirai.

The Madagascar Private Sector Humanitarian Platform (PSHP) is a non-profit business association and member of the Connecting Business initiative that supports the Malagasy private sector in strategically engaging in national disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response and recovery.  

The Connecting Business initiative was established by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and is dedicated to supporting the private sector before, during and after disasters.

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Hazards Cyclone
Country and region Madagascar
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