Madagascar

Antananarivo (AFP) The Madagascar government on Monday summoned the US ambassador after the embassy commented on a court decision that left dairy cows belonging to ex-president Marc Ravalomanana unattended and without food. A court had ordered the closure of AAA, an agribusiness owned by Ravalomanana, over violation of certain standards. Last week the company’s gates were sealed, preventing workers from entering the farm to feed the cattle. Two cows reportedly died, triggering the US embassy’s fury. On Friday the US embassy posted on its Facebook page that it was followingRead More
Fianarantsoa (Madagascar) (AFP) Joseph Ralaiharo has lived cut off from society in a remote village in central Madagascar for more than half a century. His battle with leprosy, an infection that causes unsightly sores, nerve damage as well as eye and respiratory problems, has left him shunned by society. “I can’t go home anymore because nobody wants to see me,” said 65-year-old Ralaiharo. “We can no longer go to wells to collect water, or into the fields. Even our own land has been sold by our relatives.” Despite winning theRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) Madagascar’s authorities said Wednesday they had arrested a suspected poacher after 12 lemurs, a highly endangered species, were found dead. The bodies of the rare primates were found on February 28 in the forest of Antavolobe Iaroka, in the eastern district of Andasibe. “We have placed in custody one person who was arrested and have identified the hideout of two other hunters,” Environment Minister Johanita Ndahimananjara told a press conference in Antananarivo, the capital. Lemurs “aren’t just tourist objects or factors in the equilibrium of our ecosystem, theyRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) Most inhabitants of Madagascar thought the plague was a footnote of medical history until the disease dramatically returned last year, slaying more than 200 people. Fear and anxiety rippled across the Indian Ocean island nation. “People were afraid to come to hospital — they were afraid of catching the plague,” recalled Professor Mamy Randria, head of the infectious diseases service at a hospital in the capital Antananarivo. Randria found himself on the front line of an urban war against the disease, which shook his own medical personnel whenRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) It’s a tale worthy of a John le Carre novel. A French security expert who went to Madagascar to advise the island nation’s president but subsequently fell out with his political master was jailed for three years for corruption and abuse of power. But he managed to escape and make a treacherous 15-hour Indian Ocean crossing aboard a wooden paddle boat to the nearby French territory, Mayotte, before flying back to Paris. Houcine Arfa, 54, who gave his guards the slip during a hospital visit in the capitalRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) A plague outbreak that has claimed 128 lives in Madagascar has slowed down, health authorities on the island nation said Tuesday, citing a decline in the numbers of the infected and dying. “There is an improvement in the fight against the spread of the plague, which means that there are fewer patients in hospitals,” Dr. Manitra Rakotoarivony, Madagascar’s director of health promotion, told local radio. “There are almost no more deaths due to the plague… in recent days,” he added. The highly contagious plague has caused alarm acrossRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) In Madagascar, ceremonies in which families exhume the remains of dead relatives, rewrap them in fresh cloth and dance with the corpses are a sacred ritual. But an outbreak of plague sweeping the Indian Ocean island nation has prompted warnings that the macabre spectacle, known as the turning of the bones or body turning, presents a serious risk of contamination. On a recent baking hot Saturday in Ambohijafy, a village outside the capital Antananarivo, a “turning” procession snaked through the streets in a fevered carnival atmosphere bound forRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) An outbreak of highly contagious plague has claimed 74 lives in Madagascar over the past two months with the capital particularly affected, according to a new official toll published Tuesday. A total of 805 cases have been reported on the poor Indian Ocean island nation since August, the health ministry said in a statement. Madagascar has suffered plague outbreaks almost every year since 1980 — typically between September and April — and are often sparked by rats fleeing forest fires. The current outbreak is unusual as it hasRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) The little footbridge near Justin Rakatoarivony’s home is submerged in a murky green liquid the texture of sewage. But he has no choice but to cross it every day on his way to work in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. The filthy conditions in his area, the southern Ampefiloha district, make him worry that he will be the next victim of the plague outbreak sweeping the country. His fear is far from unfounded: the disease has already killed 25 people in Antananarivo since August, according to the healthRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) Authorities in Madagascar Friday announced a ban on prison visits to prevent the spread of a plague epidemic that has killed 36 people in the Indian Ocean island. “In order to protect prisoners from the plague that is spreading outside the prison, we have decided to suspend family visits,” prisons administrator Arsen Ralisaona told AFP. The ban covers seven jails in the country’s two worst affected regions. The risk of contamination is high in overcrowded prisons, where conditions are usually unhygienic. The outbreak includes bubonic plague, which isRead More