A little help goes a long way | Humanitarian Coalition
Photo: CARE Canada
A little help goes a long way
December 13, 2017
“Sometimes, when we are sick, we need money. I’m very grateful for this help. I also hope to be able to buy seeds so I can rebuilt my garden”

There were many hurricanes and cyclones 2017, but Cyclone Enawo, which pummeled the whole east coast of Madagascar for two whole days, may not be one many are familiar with.

The category 4 storm packed winds reaching 300 km/hr and dumped 25 cm of rain on landslide prone mountainsides. More than 80 people died, whole villages were destroyed and more than a quarter of a million people were affected.

Felistine Totolala knows very well the storm’s impact, as it tore through her hometown and ruined her crops, leaving her and her family in a precarious situation.

“My husband is disabled, so I’m at once the man and woman of the family. We are farmers, but since my husband became sick, I have to harvest our land by myself. I was able to grow a bit of rice, but I mainly focus on vegetables because the work is not as hard and I can harvest it faster,” she says.

The 53-year-old says being able to purchase just a single 15kg bag of rice after the storm, thanks to aid from CARE Canada, has saved her family’s life.

Thanks to funding from the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund, CARE Canada was able to help more than 16,500 people through the first weeks of the recovery.

CARE’s response also included a cash-for-work component, which focused on women and girls because they are disproportionately affected by disaster but play an important part in the recovery process.

The work helped communities rebuild faster while also providing families with further means to address their most pressing needs. By injecting cash into the communities, residents made their own decisions and helped restore the local economy faster.

After the cyclone, Felistine found some work in the rice paddies, where she receives about $2CAD a day for her efforts, enough to keep going, but not enough to be able to get ahead. With CARE’s cash transfer, the equivalent of 15 days of work, Felistine bought the 15 kg of rice and put some money aside for emergencies.

“Sometimes, when we are sick, we need money. I’m very grateful for this help. I also hope to be able to buy seeds so I can rebuilt my garden,” she says.