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Madagascar: Ifaliana, a displaced infant

15-08-2002 News Release 02/33

Ifaliana, who is four months old, has yet to meet her father. But she will soon join him in Diego-Suarez, in the north of Madagascar, after having spent the first months of her life in Antananarivo, the capital.

Her mother, while pregnant, had to flee from the disturbances that took place during the country's political crisis, which began in December 2001. She spent several weeks making her way through the dense forests of eastern Madagascar before reaching the capital. Now that the situation has returned to normal, Ifaliana and her mother are part of a group of 250 displaced people about to return to their homes with the help of the Malagasy Red Cross Society and the ICRC. Before they set off, all will be provided with water, food and blankets, and during the four days of their journey — over land and at sea, via the port of Mahajanga — National Society volunteers will be on hand at each stage to arrange for their accommodation and provide them with any medical aid that is needed.

The Malagasy Red Cross also intends to be on the spot when the displaced persons arrive home, so as to provide those whose houses were burnt down or looted during the troubles with extra help. For Ifaliana, as for all Malagasy, this is a new start.