UNICEF and partners in Madagascar are urgently working to support an estimated 75,000 people – including around 37,500 children - in need of humanitarian assistance following the devastating impact of cyclone Batsirai which struck the south-east and centre of the island nation on Saturday. Latest reports suggest that 13 children have lost their lives. Together with the government, sister UN agencies and NGO partners, UNICEF field teams, based in affected areas, are currently assessing the extent of the damage and the needs to be addressed, while responding to those that are most pressing. UNICEF Representative in Madagascar, Jean Francois Basse, who is part of the assessment team, said social services had been particularly hard hit by the cyclone. “Dozens of schools and medical centres have been either damaged or destroyed by Batsirai, which directly impacts the lives of children,” he said. “In responding to this emergency, we need to address the immediate needs, but also plan for the long-term by building back better, including with more resilient buildings.” Among the most pressing needs are safe water and adequate sanitation to avoid outbreaks of waterborne diseases, and the provision of medicines, food, cooking equipment, and other basic household items for survival. Cash transfers can also be used to support reconstruction and the restoration of basic social services such as education and child protection. The death toll from Batsirai currently stands at 30 with over 70,000 people displaced or homeless, half of whom are children, but these numbers are likely to change as several areas remain unreachable. Many of those displaced were moved into government-run shelters before the cyclone struck with UNICEF pre-positioning key relief supplies to at-risk areas while working closely with Madagascar’s national disaster management bureau. “Our teams on the ground are working hand-in-hand with government partners to assist those most seriously impacted by this crisis,” said Basse. “With the damage affecting such as large area, we need to ensure that there is equity in the response and that no one is left behind.” Madagascar was already confronting a major drought in the south of the country and the effects of Tropical Storm Ana, which struck weeks earlier, when the cyclone hit. In a country where 77 per cent of the population lives on less than US$1 a day, the additional stresses of Batsirai are stretching response capacities to the limit while putting the vulnerable at even greater risk. “We still don’t really know the extent of this crisis,” said Basse. “But it’s clear that rebuilding lives and infrastructure will require intensive efforts.”Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF). Send us your press releases to email@example.com © Press Release 2021 Disclaimer: The contents of this press release was provided from an external third party provider. This website is not responsible for, and does not control, such external content. This content is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis and has not been edited in any way. Neither this website nor our affiliates guarantee the accuracy of or endorse the views or opinions expressed in this press release. The press release is provided for informational purposes only. The content does not provide tax, legal or investment advice or opinion regarding the suitability, value or profitability of any particular security, portfolio or investment strategy. Neither this website nor our affiliates shall be liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the content, or for any actions taken by you in reliance thereon. You expressly agree that your use of the information within this article is at your sole risk. To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, this website, its parent company, its subsidiaries, its affiliates and the respective shareholders, directors, officers, employees, agents, advertisers, content providers and licensors will not be liable (jointly or severally) to you for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, incidental, punitive or exemplary damages, including without limitation, lost profits, lost savings and lost revenues, whether in negligence, tort, contract or any other theory of liability, even if the parties have been advised of the possibility or could have foreseen any such damages.