Madagascar Water

Despite being the world's fourth largest island, surrounded by water "Many water sources are unclean in Madagascar, and few people have access to clean water at their homes," reports Dr Emile Rasoanirainy, the chief physician at the Paediatric Hospital in the country’s capital Antananarivo.

More than half of all children under the age of five die of diarrhoea in Madagascar, mainly caused by lack of sanitation. Skin infections and respiratory diseases are also common due to contaminated water sources. Its a startling fact that only 18% of Madagascar's schools have access to drinking water and only 30% have toilets.

Children are encouraged to bring bottles of water to school to drink and clean themselves. One nine year old school boy who regularly suffers from diarrhoea stated "I draw from a river close to our house. I drink it when I am thirsty, even if it is not clean." On average most households in Madagascar spend 2-3 hrs a day collecting water.

Madagascar WaterOverall, despite efforts being made, only 14% of the rural population have access to water and 7.5% have access to sanitation. These figures rise to 66% and 27% respectively in urban areas, but that's still just over a quarter of the population in towns and cities who have toilet facilities. In 2008 as part of the Millennium Development Goals initiative, Madagascar launched a plan to ensure that of its 21 million population, 14 million had access to safe sanitation and 9 million had access to safe water supplies by 2015, yet, because of the political crisis in the country, access to safe drinking water actually declined by 6% in the first two years after the goals were set. Furthermore, according the the United States Development Agency, whilst renewable water resources per capita stood at 17,186 m3 per person per year in 2007 that will have fallen to 12,916 m3 per person per year by 2015.

You may be wondering why there is a water problem in Madagascar given its an island nation with many rivers as shown in the diagram, top right. There are many issues including contaminated surface water and the inefficiencies of the combined utility provider JIRAMA which as been noted to have poor financial and operational management abilities.


Madagascar Water

Madagascar Water

Madagascar Water

Madagascar Water



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Madagascar Rivers ~ This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Madagascar Water: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license

This is coupled with a poor economy without the resources to properly fund the required infrastructure improvements set against a background of political instability and suspension of foreign aid from sources such as the EU who decided to suspend humanitarian and development aid to Madagascar in 2010 at frustration at the lack of any tangible progress towards democracy after military coup in March 1009 that saw Andry Rajoelina installed by the military as President.

The video documentary above shows the challenges of safe water in Madagascar and you may want to check out WaterAid link here, a charity working with the national government and different organisations towards the establishment and implementation of a sanitation strategy across Madagascar.



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