by Riana Ravoala, Public Information Assistant-WFP Madagascar [Originally posted February 2015]
Madagascar is extremely prone to natural disasters including cyclones, flooding and droughts. These disasters deepen poverty caused by displacement of people, as well as recurrent socio-economic losses. Cyclones accompanied by severe flooding occur in the South-East and West of the country, while persistent drought affects the southern part of the island. Over the past two decades, the frequency and severity of these events has risen significantly impacting people who are already vulnerable and less able to cope. Over 85 percent of the population lives on less than a dollar a day.
With DFID’s support, WFP and UNICEF have collaborated to build up the preparedness capacity to trigger emergency operations rapidly and with increased cost-effectiveness, to ensure that assistance reaches people in greatest need in the shortest time possible. As part of these efforts, WFP organised a three-day ICT emergency management training for ICT staff from various UN agencies, NGOs, the National Risk and Disasters Management Agency (BNGRC) relevant government departments and the private sector. The intensive course included group exercises for participants to share their experiences and lessons learnt, particularly on crosscutting collaboration between ICT and appropriate units, both internally and with external stakeholders. These training sessions aimed to ensure timely, predictable and effective information management and better coordination among all stakeholders during emergencies. Ahead of the cyclone season, WFP Madagascar, as lead of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), has also improved its technical capacity to support other stakeholders.
Thanks to UKAid’s contribution, the humanitarian community in Madagascar is better equipped with ICT skills, technical expertise and equipment to deal with the next emergency. “It was a very comprehensive workshop; we learned how to improve our services in line with the specific strengths of each organization, before, during and after an emergency,” said Ricardo Andrianivoharijohn, an ICT Assistant with WFP Madagascar.