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Supporting Recovery In Cyclone-Hit Madagascar

UN-backed agricultural fund supports recovery efforts in cyclone-hit Madagascar

6 March 2008 - The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is supporting the recovery of farmers in Madagascar, where a recent cyclone left 150,000 people homeless and destroyed crops and livestock.

IFAD said it is committed to helping rebuild the livelihoods of the rural poor in the areas hit by Cyclone Ivan, which battered the country on 17 February and left at least 73 dead in its wake.

In addition to the thousands left homeless, basic infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools and health centres has been damaged or destroyed.

"It will take many months to rehabilitate the productive capacity of these families," said IFAD country programme manager Benoît Thierry, who noted that the disaster struck ahead of the Madagascar's rice harvest.

He noted that about 50,000 hectares of rice and more than 100,000 hectares of other crops have been flooded. In addition, fruit and spice trees have been uprooted, vegetable gardens and orchards destroyed, pigs and poultry have perished and fishing communities have lost boats and nets.

IFAD has set aside about $500,000 to help the rural poor including by providing cereals and vegetable seeds, replanting fruit tree nurseries and repairing irrigation channels, so that farmers can replace lost crops.

The agency noted that while cyclones are common in Madagascar, they have recently grown in intensity and frequency - seven cyclones struck the country in 2007 and Cyclone Ivan was the worst since the 1980s.

"This latest disaster provides further proof of climate change and its devastating consequences for the world's poorest communities," the agency said in a news release.

Earlier this week, UN agencies and their aid partners appealed for more than $36 million to help bring relief to the parts of Madagascar that have been buffeted by cyclones in the past month.

ENDS

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