Ripon charity appeal for support after Madagascar cyclone

An inhabitant of the Vohipeno stands in front of wreckage from cyclone (s)
An inhabitant of the Vohipeno stands in front of wreckage from cyclone (s)

After cyclone Chedza hit South West Madagascar in January, causing widespread devastation in the region, Ripon charity ‘TASC Madagascar’ has issued an urgent appeal for funds.

Ripon Councillor, Coun Stuart Martin, set up the charity that works in the South Eastern Madagascar and, over the years, has taken a number of people to the country from throughout the Harrogate district.

Following a report of major flooding and 150mph winds devastating homes and crops in and around the Vohipeno region, the charity’s contact on the ground has appealed for funding.

These funds will help to buy materials to replace houses, bridges and seeds and replace the rice and crops which have been ruined.

The report has warned that the seeds are ‘essential’ and need to be planted imminently to avoid a major famine in the area later this year.

Coun Martin said: “The effects of the cyclone are the worst since the wreckage caused by Cyclone Hubert in 2010.

“Pere Emeric has been at the forefront of the work to save lives and rebuild communities - travelling by 4x4, boat and even canoe to reach isolated regions devastated by the storm and floodwater.

“The waters of the mighty Matitatana River rose extremely quickly forcing tens of thousands from their homes, and the winds exceeded 150kmph. Hundreds of houses were destroyed.

“Acres of rice crops have been ruined, fruit trees uprooted and cassava, sweet potato and corn fields flattened. Food security for a large part of the population is now seriously compromised.

“People may have enough to last until early March but thereafter a period of severe shortage and famine is inevitable.”

As well as desperately requiring funds for new fund crops, Coun Martin has stated that the charity needs £50,000 for the reconstruction of 500 homes.

The Vohipeno district is one of the poorest regions of Madagascar with small farmers arriving just to feed their families through the rice fields located near the streams.

However, cyclones are common in the district and when Chedza hit on 16, 17 and 18 January, the floods hit an ‘unprecedented’ levels, with the ‘extraordinary’ rise of water generating considerable damage.

The report said: “The extremely rapid rise of water has forced tens of thousands of people Vohipeno and many villages along the river Matitanana to hurriedly leave their home to seek a makeshift shelter a little higher.

“While the proud waters covered and devastated many of the cultures and damaging many bridges, roads and tracks.”

The report has stressed the need for funding to restart a farm plan and rebuilding the habitat of the poorest inhabitants.

Anyone wishing to donate to the charity can find more information on their website at http://www.tascmadagascar.org/.