Torrential rains and flooding in Mada

You may have heard it’s been raining like crazy in the last months here in Madagascar. This causes horrible problems especially in the northern part of Mada, where I live. Rain is something we get used to it this time of the year as it is our rainy season now. However this year it is much stronger then before due to some big storms caused by tropical disturbances. Madagascar is not always on the world map if it comes to the big news outlets so you may be wondered what rains and floodings I am talking about. If you follow me today I try to show the reality we have to face.

Since the beginning of this January, many places here have been affected by heavy rain and floods. At least 30 lives lost and more than 15,000 homes destroyed or flooded. Areas of national roads 4 and 6, which connect northwestern Madagascar to the rest of the country, have been washed away in the flood waters. We sort of get used to the rain and to the fact that every year our homes are flooded by dirty water: the rain water washes out the clay out of the soil and mixing it with sewage. However this type of storms are not happening every year as it is happening this year. Life is very difficult now, we are severely affected and many people have been displaced to higher places where there is no risk of flooding. We do have few schools which are not affected by the floods so people use them as refuge shelter.

So why is rain such a big problem in Madagascar you might ask?

Well first of all you need to know that most cities and villages have no sewarage network. When it rains it stays on the streets until if slowly flows down to the sea or into the rivers. Most of the roads are dirt roads here. Waterflow can be dangerous which can cause landslided due to the stong deforestation in my country. Sadly it is something we have done to our lands and should be solved immediately. Also, residental areas, especially the poor residental areas are built in low-lands. These are like a valley or a pool. It if rains all the rainwater flows into these low-land areas and stay there until it dries out.

Honestly I KNOW HOW HARD IS THIS SITUATION because me and my family is one of the affected familes of floodings and usually it goes inside the house. Let me explain you what we do to survive:

  • when it starts to rain electricity is always cut off so we switch on my small battery powered radio to get information about the weather

  • we start to move everything (identity papers, furniture, etc...) in a higher place in our home including the bed because you don't want to sleep in a wet bed! We put 4 chairs under the 4 corner of the bed to make it higher!

  • if the water does not reach the top of your house you must stay inside: if you leave it empty thieves do not hesitate to get in and stole your things. :(

  • a lot of places do not have evacuation system for the water so when the rain stops you still have dirty water inside your house for few days. Sometimes we have problem with our feet since we stand in the dirty water many hours a day

Luckily our school area was not affacted by these rains these year. The school complex and the village is situated is a slightly higher altitute so floods are not happening there. Getting around the school is nearly impossible though. It can be accessed only on foot since the roads are so muddy no vehicle can go in there and you literally walk ankle deep in mud. Most children barefoot.

The rainy season usually ends around March. Let’s hope the most difficult days are behind us! However Madagascar might face a difficult year because the risk of starving will be very high. Agriculture is devasted by the floods: many grain stores and cattles were lost in the rains. Rice fields were destroyed. Food will be extremely expensive this year for us.

It is difficult to accept that while the country just built a high-end new stadium for our football team in our capital the rest of country of drowing every year because there is no money to build a sewage system. It is hard to live and accept the fact the rain can destroy everything we work for. And we all know no matter what we do this will happen again and again every year whatever we do. So what can we do? We stay alive, stand up, do our work on the fields and hope God will bless us next time. We all try to stay positive,keep smilling and hope that everything will be okay but honestly inside we feel very sad...