Natural Hazard Risk
Madagascar is vulnerable to a range of natural hazards, including cyclones, droughts, earthquakes, floods, and locust invasions. The country experiences about $100 million in economic losses annually from cyclones, earthquakes, and floods. Tropical cyclones, combined with wind, rain, and storm surge, cause about 86 percent of total annual losses. In 2008, Cyclones Fame, Ivan, and Jokwe affected 342,000 people and caused an estimated $333 million in disaster-related damages and losses, equivalent to 4 percent of gross domestic product.
An increasingly variable and changing climate poses significant risks. Between 1980 and 2010 alone, Madagascar was struck by 35 cyclones and floods, five periods of severe droughts, five earthquakes, and six epidemics. These events are becoming more frequent and intense, affecting food security, drinking water supply and irrigation, public health systems, environmental management, and lifestyle.
The government has largely shifted its focus from post-disaster relief operations to disaster risk management (DRM) and climate change resilience strategies. Recovering from a period of political instability, the country is addressing key issues related to DRM.
In 2003, the government adopted the National Strategy on Disaster Risk Management as a legal and political framework for the national DRM system. The National Bureau of Disaster Risk Management serves as the authority for the management, coordination, and monitoring of all activities related to DRM and disaster risk reduction. The National Contingency Plan on Cyclone and Flood articulates processes to be followed during cyclone events. And, the Ministry of Environment’s decree for environmental issues and climate change resilience (Décret MECIE) ensures that economic activities and development are not detrimental to the environment.
To further advance its DRM agenda, the government is prioritizing:
- Updating the National Disaster Risk Management Strategy;
- Increasing the understanding of disaster risks;
- Improving financial resilience to natural hazards; and,
- Integrating DRM and climate resilience considerations in planning and strategy development.
GFDRR has supported disaster risk management efforts in Madagascar since 2008, with a focus on identifying risks, mainstreaming climate and disaster resilience in economic development, and developing disaster risk financing strategies.
With GFDRR assistance, Madagascar became the first country in Africa to conduct a joint damage, loss, and needs assessment. The assessment, conducted in collaboration with the European Union and the United Nations after the 2008 cyclones, estimated the damage caused to infrastructure, changes in economic flows, and impacts on social sectors. It also helped identify needs for post-disaster reconstruction and recovery.
GFDRR enabled the development and dissemination of risk atlases for high-risk regions and of construction codes for buildings and infrastructure. The construction codes provide climate-proof standards for agriculture, irrigation systems, public health centers, roads, and schools in areas highly vulnerable to cyclones, droughts, and other climate shocks. Enforced construction codes are expected to stimulate economic development by improving building performance and reducing reconstruction and repair costs. The risk atlases are expected to strengthen regional and national decision-making.
GFDRR supported an initiative in the Southwest Indian Ocean region to help countries better identify risks and strengthen financial resilience to disasters. Activities have supported hazard data collection and developed country-specific risk profiles. This will assist Madagascar in assessing regional and national risk financing options.
Currently, GFDRR is facilitating a study to identify policy actions that have high potential to increase urban resilience and improve the quality of life of the poor in Antananarivo. This study will analyze household-level surveys, the study helps inform the national government and municipal authorities on how to better target and finance poverty reduction programs.
GFDRR anticipates demand from the Government of Madagascar to support:
- Preparing risk atlases and regional disaster response plans for priority regions;
- Mainstreaming DRM in urban and land-use planning and other priority sectors;
- Strengthening urban resilience in the capital and other cities;
- Modeling contingency funds at central and decentralized levels; and,
- Expanding the risk assessment and financing initiative.