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Tuesday, 7 March, 2000, 16:05 GMT
Madagascar appeals for flood aid
map
The storm-hit island of Madagascar has launched an appeal for international aid to help hundreds of thousands of people displaced by floods.

Floods caused by two cyclones have forced 600,000 people from their homes, according to the United Nations. At least 130 had died, said the country's national rescue committee.


Flood victim drinks clean water
Like Mozambique, Madagascar needs drinking water
Cyclone Eline tore through Madagascar last month before heading on to devastate Mozambique, located on the African mainland about 400km (250 miles) west of the island.

Last week, torrential rains from Cyclone Gloria wrecked yet more havoc.

More rain was forecast from Tuesday night to Thursday.

Food, water, medicine

The Malagasy Government launched an appeal for food and medicine on Tuesday.

It also requested aircraft to help distribute the aid, particularly to the cyclone victims sheltering in extremely remote areas of the island.

The government only completed its initial assessment of the crisis on Monday, when officials flew over the worst affected areas.

Aircraft needed

UN agencies were due to discuss how to help the stricken island nation on Tuesday.

Mozambique flood relief
Many flood victims live in remote areas, only accessible by air
A Unicef spokesman in Madagascar said reaching all the victims would be a challenge.

"What is very important is logistics support, helicopters and aircraft, because some of these areas are very remote, even when the weather is good," he said.

And the World Health Organisation warned that the flooding would exacerbate the country's cholera epidemic, which has killed more than 1,000 people in the past year.

Meanwhile, 500,000 people have also been affected by the flooding in Zimbabwe, a UN humanitarian affairs spokesman said, adding that 25,000 of them were in an urgent situation.

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See also:

28 Feb 00 |  Africa
The floods: A regional disaster
07 Mar 00 |  Africa
US troops land in Mozambique
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