Since the beginning of January, Antananarivo has faced massive floods. According to the BNGRC (office in charge of dealing with natural risks & disasters), there are 60,000 disaster victims counted and 19 people were found dead after the disastrous floods.
Due to unusually heavy rains, rivers and lakes overflowed on to roads, reaching habitations and ruining a large amount of paddy fields. While the authorities are trying to evacuate the victims of the areas affected, some people refuse to leave.
People are afraid to leave their shelter because thieves may advantage of the situation. If no one is there to look after their goods, who will prevent them from stealing?
But that’s not what Malagasy fear the most. Rice is one of the most important elements in Madagascar’s society. It is at the base of their alimentation, each inhabitant consumes approximatively 200 Kg of rice per year.
Rice plays a huge role in the country’s economy. “Here, [growing rice] represents about 90% of our professional activity. We’re farmers.” stated Marcellin Andriaherisetra, one of the numerous victims in an interview for TV5 MONDE (Francophone Media)
Moreover, if we take into account that 65% of Malagasy households are farmers, there is a lot to fear for the population. People will face a lack of food and it will be complicated for them to earn enough money in order to feed their family.
If the paddy fields are ruined, it means that farmers will not be able to use their production to feed their household. If there is no rice, it also means that farmers will not be able to earn enough money to buy food. Moreover, as Madagascar is an island, buying imported food would be way too expensive for the vast majority of the locals.
The floods will certainly have a huge impact on the country’s economy and will diminish drastically their food resources.
By Defné Cetin