220,000 Urgently Need Humanitarian Aid After Devastating Cyclone in Northeast Madagascar 

Over 535,000 people have been affected across 33 flooded communes in Northeast Madagascar following Tropical Cyclone Gamane. Photo: IOM Madagascar

Geneva/Antananarivo, 9 April – An estimated 220,000 people require immediate humanitarian assistance due to the catastrophic impact of tropical cyclone Gamane in Northeast Madagascar. The tropical Cyclone made landfall on 27 March in the northeast of Madagascar, wreaking havoc in the regions of Analanjirofo, Diana, Atsinanana, and Sava. 

“The cyclone exacerbates the hardships of populations already burdened by multiple crises," said Roger Charles Evina, IOM Chief of Mission in Madagascar. “El Nino conditions resulted in erratic rainfalls in the past months, with populations in the Grand Sud bracing for a severe drought, while Tropical Storm Alvaro in January and excessive rainfall in February have resulted in major flooding in the north and southwestern regions, affecting close to 52,000 people.”  

In response to the devastation caused by the tropical cyclone, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) participated in a joint aerial assessment conducted on 30 March by humanitarian partners and the National Office for Risks and Disaster Management (BNGRC). 

Initial reports indicate that over 535,000 people have been affected across 33 flooded communes, with 18 people killed and 22,000 persons displaced. Close to 19,000 homes were flooded and extensive damage was reported on roads and essential infrastructures, including 22 health centres and 135 schools. More than 2,200 hectares of rice fields face the risk of being silted, jeopardizing the livelihoods of populations across the affected areas. 

The Government of Madagascar declared a national emergency in response to the tropical cyclone. Humanitarian partners are working in close coordination with national and local authorities and seek to immediately assist 165,000 people with emergency assistance, including shelter, food, water and sanitation, health care, education and protection support. Majority of displaced families who initially sought shelter across 87 evacuation centres are now temporarily hosted by relatives – with a minority remaining in evacuation centres; most remain in need of urgent assistance, including to be able to return home. 

Emergency supplies available in the country are close to being depleted, as stocks have been used to assist populations affected by disasters since the beginning of the year. Access conditions in areas affected by the Tropical Cyclone remain challenging, with relief provided by air or by sea due to damage to roads and bridges. Additional funding is urgently needed to sustain relief efforts amid limited resources available. 

Madagascar is highly exposed to natural hazards and ranks among the top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change globally. In the past years, the country has been confronted by a succession of disasters arising from drought, floods and cyclones, resulting in deaths, major damage to homes, critical infrastructures and productive assets, and leading to mass population displacement. The impacts of natural hazards are aggravated by widespread environmental degradation, with now a third of the island’s land resources affected by erosion, with severe effects on people’s capacity to adapt and sustainably address the problem. 

IOM calls for urgent support to address the humanitarian crisis in Madagascar. Prior to the cyclone, the United Nations estimated that 2.3 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in Madagascar. A total of USD 90 million has been requested under the 2024 Flash Appeal, which is currently under 20 per cent funded, with less than USD 15 million received to date. 

Without additional financial support, relief efforts might be compromised, leaving thousands of people in a situation of extreme vulnerability. 


For further information, please contact:  

Geneva: Kennedy Okoth,   

Pretoria: Abibo Ngandu,   

Madagascar: Roger Charles Evina,