Antananarivo/Nairobi/Geneva, 09 December 2019 — Madagascar is on high alert as Cyclone Belna barrels towards the country’s north-western coast. Red Cross disaster response teams in Boeny and Melaky regions have activated response plans in anticipation of the cyclone’s landfall this evening.

Andreas Sandin, Operations Coordinator for IFRC in East Africa, who is in Madagascar to oversee response efforts, said:

“Over 260,000 people are at risk as the cyclone approaches. Our teams are on high alert and have put in place preparedness efforts in anticipation of heavy rains and flooding. We are encouraging communities in the cyclone’s path to remain alert, follow weather forecasts and to heed warning messages from Government authorities.”

Red Cross volunteers are in place to evacuate communities in the path of the cyclone and conduct hygiene promotion sessions to prevent the outbreak of waterborne diseases. The Red Cross teams are ready to provide relief items, emergency shelter and household kits. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has just released more than 140,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to fund local preparedness efforts ahead of the storm and to support 2,500 people in its aftermath.

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