by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) Nov 20, 2012
The UN food agency issued an alert Tuesday warning that a lack of funding has left it with just half the emergency supplies it needs in Madagascar ahead of the impending cyclone season.
In past years, the World Food Programme has stocked 1,000 tonnes of relief food in vulnerable areas of the impoverished Indian Ocean island, it said.
"However, this year, due to funding shortfalls, it has only managed to deliver 544 tonnes -- half the needed amount," the UN agency said in a statement.
That quantity of food was enough to feed around 17,000 people for 10 days, the agency said, as it launched an appeal for $6.1 million (4.8 million euros) for immediate relief and another $15 million for the next six months.
"The window to make the necessary preparations is closing" since the cyclone season typically begins in November, WFP Country Director Willem van Milink said in the statement.
"We need donors to quickly step forward," he added, stressing that "being prepared will save lives and livelihoods, and this in turn will save money."
In recent years, storms hitting Madagascar have caused huge destruction and killed scores of people, including tropical storm Irina and cyclone Giovanna earlier this year, which together claimed 107 lives.
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