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Testimony from flood survivors

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This temoignage collection of five accounts was taken on March 10, 2000.

Regina Marte (56) From Lione, a village near Chokwe Gaza Province

I was at home when the floods came. It was 3 o'clock in the morning on the Sunday of the flood (29th February), when I woke up. By the time I was out of the house, the water was up to my chest. I waded, waded, waded, trying very hard to find the road. When I finally reached the road I found a car to give me a lift. That's how I got here. But at least I didn't have to pay any money - others had to pay. My whole family ran away but we left everything behind. Then, when I first got here, I stayed in the 'club house' here in Macia. But so many people came there after me, that I moved to Camp 2. The health centre is fine although it's very crowded in the morning. But it is possible to be seen. But we don't have enough shelter here from the rain, and even food sometimes we can't find.

Helena Vuma (21) From Biroo number 5, a settlement very near Chokwe Gaza Province

When the floods came it was Sunday (29th) and I managed to get to a tall tree which I climbed. I stayed there until Tuesday, so I was three days in the tree. I was very tired but I had to stay awake. One night I fell asleep by accident and I fell down into the water. But I couldn't climb back up because I was too tired, so I stayed in the water until the next evening. Then I climbed back up. We all drank the flood water while we were there - well, there was plenty of it. When the water went down a bit I walked to the road and got a lift from a passing car. I had to pay 25,000 Meticais ($2) which was all the money I had. But I'm glad my husband is here.

Candida Antonio (26) From Biroo number 3 settlement, very near Chokwe Gaza Province

At the beginning of February number 3 got flooded, so I moved to number 5. Then at the end of February that too flooded and I had to find the road. We waded a long time but we found the road eventually and got a lift. I also had to pay 25,000 Meticais and I had nothing left. I don't know how I'll be able to go back, or when. I'm waiting for the government to say it's safe to go back but I have no money at all now, so tell me how am I supposed to go back? There are seven in my family here - I'm lucky they are alive, but I have mouths to feed. And there's not much food here now - soon that will stop as well.

Julietta Maundla (49) From Nwachicoluane, north of Lionde Gaza Province

The water came from Lionde and blocked all the roads and ways out. There was no way out of the village, but luckily we went upstairs and got on the roof of the house - it has two floors - and we were saved by a traditional boat two days afterwards. The boat took us up to the road where we got a lift for 20,000 Meticais. It was noon when we left and arrived here in Macia at 5pm - the road was very bad. (The drive from Chokwe to Macia should take around 1.5 hours). My immediate family was saved but when I left my village some of my relatives were sitting on the top of a big water tank and I haven't heard from them since. I don't know where they are or if they are alive. I've been here for nearly two weeks, but I have eaten only twice in that time. I've also heard from other people arriving from my village that when the water had gone down my house was broken into and everything was stolen - my cooking pots, blankets, everything.

Soares Sherinda From Chokwe Works at Chokwe Agricultural

Research Station

I managed to save the car and drive away before things got too bad. But all our research is lost now. People can't plant for the time being because the land is waterlogged, but when they can they will need seeds. Problems here are more organisational than anything - the co-ordination between NGOs and the administration is not well run. The helicopters are also too small to carry large amounts of cargo at any one time. There are not enough blankets, covers or materials for cooking - we wonder if the 'chief' (administrator) here has taken them. Some people got clothes today, but they need more. Sometimes I've seen over 40 people in one tent - this is very dangerous if disease breaks out.

"Several cities are cut off from distribution lines of food provisions, and some villages are completely flooded. MSF, in collaboration with the NRC, will concentrate its efforts on the most isolated villages, to aid 10,000 families, or 50 to 60,000 people, who require immediate assistance" explained Pierre-Pascal Vandini, Assistant Director of Operations at MSF.

Other evaluations are currently being undertaken. In addition to the nutritional consequences, this new hurricane could aggravate the cholera epidemic that has been rampant in Madagascar for nearly a year.

MSF is reinforcing its team already on the ground to intervene in the regions of Morolambo, Anosibe An'Ala, and Antanambao Manampotsy (on the eastern coast). Present in Madigascar since 1987, MSF provided disaster assistance once before to the Malagasy population, after the passage of hurricane Gretelle devastated the south-east of the island in 1997.