The Collectif pour la Défense des Terres Malgaches has launched an online petition against the expulsion of Malagasy families from their land due to a number of causes. These causes include the creation of protected areas for nature conservation. The example of the Masoala National Park is mentioned in the petition.
On Sunday 24 July (14:30) and Saturday 6 August (01:05), FRANCE 5 will show a documentary called “La lune et le bananier” about the Masoala National Park. Picking up Eva Keller’s work, filmmaker Daniel Serre documents how the Masoala National Park has deprived many local people of important means of livelihood without giving them any proper compensation or an alternative way of making a living.
We have uploaded a link to Just Conservation. Just Conservation is a facebook platform (accessible also to those not on facebook) providing information on issues similar to the ones that Human Rights in Masoala is concerned with. Just Conservation raises concerns about social injustices in connection with environmental conservation in countries around the world. The site includes numerous links to other organisations or groups with similar concerns.
On 14 February 2011, Ambanizana – one of the villages that the documents you find on this website talk about and where Eva Keller has spent many months – was badly damaged by cyclone Bingiza. This has probably been the worst cyclone in the village since 1950. The water flooded the houses reaching a level of almost one metre indoors. Some houses, especially if near the sea, were entirely washed away. Furthermore, people have lost substantial parts of last December’s rice harvest. In villages like Ambanizana, the harvested rice is kept either in a corner indoors or, if available, in granaries (see Slide Show). Much of local people’s rice has got wet during the cyclone and consequently has rotten. Even worse is the fact that certain wet rice fields in the plane were flooded which not only killed the seedlings of the next harvest but covered the fields in sand that was carried along by the sea water. The task ahead of making these fields usable again is enormous. Furthermore, cyclone Bingiza killed the majority of chickens, geese etc. as well as numerous cattle which drowned in the flood.*
If you would like to support the people in Ambanizana or in other villages on the Masoala peninsula in their effort to reorganise their lives, we recommend that you donate to MEDAIR (www.medair.org). Medair is supporting the local people in Ambanizana by providing food as well as seeds for the next harvest and by repairing water pumps. When donating online, state “Madagascar/Ambanizana” when asked to specify which purpose you wish your money to be used for. If you have any problems or questions regarding the activities of Medair in Ambanizana or the Masoala peninsula more generally, you may contact “[email protected]“.
*This information was provided by Eva Keller’s research assistant who lives in the nearby town of Maroantsetra and who went to Ambanizana after the cyclone to inspect the damage.
To those of you who plan to visit Masoala, we recommend HARIMALALA Paul Clément as tourist guide. Paul is an extraordinarily competent and knowledgeable person; he speaks French as well as some English. He is an official tourist guide. If you wish to contact him, please do so via the “Contact” form on this website.