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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
News article9 March 2023Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)2 min read

Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region: EU allocates €50 million in humanitarian aid as Commissioner Lenarčič visits Madagascar

2 people with bags with food on their heads walking on a sandy road.
© European Union, 2020

The Commission announced today new funding of €50 million in humanitarian aid for the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region. Funding will help combat food insecurity and malnutrition, improve access to basic services, enhance disaster preparedness and promote education in emergencies throughout the region.

Of this funding:

  • €13.3 million are allocated to Madagascar
  • €25 million to Mozambique
  • €7.4 million to Zimbabwe
  • €4.3 million to Lesotho, Malawi and regional projects.

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, who is currently visiting Madagascar, stressed: “I reaffirm the EU’s steadfast solidarity with Madagascar and its people, who are severely and increasingly affected by the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation. We are therefore stepping up our commitment to help the people of Madagascar and the rest of the region of Southern Africa and Indian Ocean, including by supporting the strengthening of disaster preparedness and response to climate-related emergencies as well as addressing acute food insecurity and the  malnourishment of children. We are also financing additional air transport means in Madagascar, to ensure humanitarian workers and supplies reach everyone in need of life-saving assistance. Our total EU initial aid to Madagascar this year stands at €14.5 million.”

During his visit, the Commissioner is due to meet the President of Madagascar Andry Rajoelina; the governors of Vatovavy and Fitovinany regions and the directors of the national office for disaster management. The Commissioner will also meet humanitarian partners and Pedro Pablo Opeka, the founder of Akamasoa Humanitarian association, while he will also visit the recent cyclone-affected areas.

In February 2023, the EU also provided €100,000 in emergency humanitarian funding to assist those most affected by tropical cyclone Freddy, which made landfall on the eastern coast of the island on 21 February 2023.

This year, a new air support operation is being put in place, to reinforce the capacity of humanitarian actors to reach communities affected by flooding and cyclones. This operation amounts to €1.2 million.


The Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region is prone to disasters induced by natural hazards – exacerbated by the impact of climate change, environmental degradation and poor natural resources’ management - and human-induced hazards caused by armed conflict and violence.

Tropical storms and cyclones, floods, droughts and epidemics occur often, rendering the region highly vulnerable to these risks. The 2021/2022 cyclone season resulted in heavy destruction in the region, including in Madagascar and Mozambique. The start of the 2023 cyclone season saw both countries affected again.

In addition to the repercussions from the most recent cyclones, over 2 million people are highly food insecure in Madagascar due to the continuing drought in the Grand Sud.

In Mozambique, the security situation in the northern province of Cabo Delgado remains highly unstable, and over 1 million people have been forced to flee their homes.

In Zimbabwe, food insecurity is expected to worsen, including due to a decrease in crop production – but also due to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which has had an impact on the economies of the whole region.

The EU’s humanitarian aid will serve to bolster the multi-sector response to climate and human-induced disasters, support Education in Emergencies and strengthen disaster preparedness.