Antananarivo [Madagascar], May 4 (ANI): Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina on Wednesday lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for India's leadership in promoting climate and disaster resilience and said it is crucial to invest in the resilience of infrastructure systems.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the 4th International Conference on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), Rajoelina said that his country has recently joined the CDRI and is honoured to be part of this global partnership.
The CDRI was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019.
"We are determined to bring our active participation and to share with other countries our experience on climate-related disaster management," Rajoelina said.
The session was also addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida.
Rajoelina noted that Madagascar, a very low polluter, is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change. "Today, we are the fourth most exposed and affected country in the world to the effects of climate change," he said.
"Our big island suffers from both repeated floods due to meteorological cataclysms and intense drought causing chronic famine for the population of the south of my country. On average, 15 cyclones hit Madagascar every decade," he added.
Talking about extreme weather events, the Madagascar President said that in recent years it has led to a decrease in agricultural production, destruction of infrastructure, loss of human lives, degradation of natural resources, making food security precarious, as well as public health and drinking water supply.
He noted that because of climate change, cyclones are becoming more frequent and more violent and this happened recently at the beginning of this year.
He highlighted that in only 25 days, Madagascar underwent a series of major weather events; the passage of the tropical storm ANA, the cyclone BATSIRAI - one of the most violent cyclones in the last ten years; the tropical storm DUMAKO and tropical cyclone EMNATI.
These cyclones damaged not only more than 8,500 homes, but also schools, health facilities, offices and administrative buildings, and affected the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people, he added.
"Madagascar has seen nearly 200,000 hectares of agricultural land devastated and
flooded. And yet, our objective is to increase the rice-growing area in Madagascar by 100,000 hectares in order to achieve food self-sufficiency," he said.
He said that for Madagascar and all countries vulnerable to climate change, it is crucial to invest in the resilience of infrastructure systems. "They are not only the lifelines of our economy in normal times, but also essential for rapid recovery after a disaster."
Madagascar President hoped that in the coming year, specific programmes and projects of the CDRI will be launched and will include Madagascar.
"Madagascar is committed and determined to work for our common cause of promoting disaster and climate change resilient infrastructures, not only in our country but all over the world," he added. (ANI)