Wed, 14 Apr 2021

New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI): India on Monday announced it will send a consignment of 1,000 metric tonnes of rice and 100,000 tablets of Hydroxychloroquine to drought-hit Madagascar.

The humanitarian assistance will be delivered onboard the Indian Naval Ship Jalashwa. The ship will leave with food and medical assistance on March 3 and is expected to reach the Port of Ehoala in Madagascar between March 21 and 24.

The Indian assistance was conveyed to the Madagascar government on Monday during External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's phone call with his Madagascar counterpart Tehindrazanarivelo Djacoba A.S Oliv.

"In response to the urgent appeal made by the Government of Madagascar for international solidarity and assistance to deal with the humanitarian crisis in South of Madagascar due to severe drought, the Government of India is sending a consignment of 1,000 metric tonnes of rice and 100,000 tablets of HCQ to Madagascar," a statement by Ministry of External Affairs read.

The southern part of Madagascar has been facing drought for the last three years.

The drought has wiped out harvests and hampered people's access to food and COVID-19 compounded the locals' suffering. Hunger is on the rise in southern Madagascar due to consecutive years of drought.

In January, the World Food Programme (WFP) said that "famine-like conditions" in southern Madagascar have doubled the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance compared with last year, to more than 1.3 million.

Jaishankar assured Oliv that as a maritime neighbour across the Indian Ocean, the government and people of Madagascar can always count on the support and solidarity of the Government and people of India, according to the statement.

During the phone conversation, Jaishankar recalled the excellent bilateral ties of friendship between India and Madagascar and that India has always been among the first responders when it comes to assisting the people of Madagascar in such a humanitarian crisis.

During the trip, INS Jalashwa will also have on-board an Indian Naval training team which is being deployed in Madagascar for capacity building and training of the Malagasy Special Forces for two weeks.

The two Foreign Ministers also discussed other issues of mutual interest.

The supplies of food assistance and support for capacity building to the friendly countries of Madagascar and Comoros is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of SAGAR and India's time-tested role as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean Region.

In September 2018, a consignment of 1,000 metric tonnes of rice was delivered on-board an Indian Naval vessel to Madagascar.

Indian Navy was the first to respond when Cyclone Diane struck Madagascar and prompt assistance was delivered under Operation Vanilla by INS Airavat in January 2020.

In March 2020, INS Shardul visited the port of Antisiranana and delivered 600 tonnes of rice as HADR assistance to Madagascar from India for dealing with heavy floods in the Northern region of Madagascar. (ANI)

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