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Report of the 2nd Mission to Madagascar (provision of foodstuffs)

On Tuesday, 25.11.2008, a team of members and friends of "Heart Doctors" visited Madagascar in order to buy staple foodstuffs from the local wholesale food markets and offer them to poor and hungry populations living in the wider region of Antananarivo, the capital of the country. The cost of this mission was financed by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs (YDAS).

After close examination of the wholesale food markets and the best bid offered, a commercial firm was selected and 62.2 tons of rice were bought from it (1244 bags, each bag weighing 50 kilos, 1244X50 = 62,200 kilos). The production of rice in Madagascar was partly destroyed and reduced by cyclones and drought during the recent years. Its price in Madagascar will keep increasing till the harvest period (Spring 2009). The demand is met by imports (from Pakistan). This explains why there were only two commercial firms in Antananarivo we managed to approach and get their bids.

The purchased foodstuffs were then transported by car from the storehouses to various very poor neighborhoods of Antananarivo where they were distributed in the presence of Mr. Panagiotis Taloumis, the Consul of Greece in Antananarivo.

It has to be cleared up that rice is a basic foodstuff; this food item was suggested by the "Bureau National de Risques et Catastrophes"of Madagascar as the most suitable for food aid. The same Bureau proposed to distribute the food aid to the poor people living in the wide area of Antananarivo.
The situation in the communities visited was tragic: poor and elementary houses, real slums, dirty streets, people naked or dressed in rags, undernourished, very hungry and desparate. One mother was moving around carrying the dead body of her child trying to convince that they were dying of hunger!

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