MapAction sends team to aid Madagascar Cyclone response

MapAction has mobilised a team to support the humanitarian response following Storm Batsirai, which hit Madagascar on Saturday evening. The team is due to leave on Tuesday.

Batsirai, a category three cyclone, swept away cars and houses, causing loss of life, flooding, landslides, destruction of infrastructure. It arrived with the country still reeling from Storm Ana which killed 55 people just weeks ago.

The scale of the situation is still emerging and MapAction’s team will help with that task. However media reports indicate that 250,000 people have been affected, more than 50,000 may be displaced and at least 10 people are known to have died so far. Many more may be affected as river levels are continuing to rise.

The United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC) have requested MapAction’s situational data analysis, visualisation and geospatial expertise. MapAction will deploy a two person team to Kenya from where they will be able to enter Madagascar. We will then assess the situation and decide whether additional support might be necessary. 

MapAction has already started to produce maps and collate data and are making them available here: https://maps.mapaction.org/event/2022-mdg-001 

MapAction’s services are in ever more demand because of the increase in climate related events, be they food, infrastructure or conflict related. Although these events can’t be stopped, we can help mitigate the effects of these events and are actively working towards this goal. 

Read our latest news.

German Federal Foreign Office logo
We’re grateful to the German Federal Foreign Office for funding this work.

Welcoming the new Head of GeoSpatial services

As well as many other things, MapAction provides UN and other international and regional agencies with the information and data they need, in the most useful visual formats, to enable them to be as effective as possible.

We are actively working to apply fast developing geospatial expertise to tackle some of today’s biggest humanitarian challenges, in collaboration with our partners around the world.

We have just welcomed our new Head of GeoSpatial Services, here she introduces herself and talks about what she’ll be doing.


Hi, I’m Gemma Davies and I joined the staff team at MapAction this month as the Head of GeoSpatial Services.

Prior to joining MapAction I worked for a long time as the GIS Officer at Lancaster University, applying GIS to a wide variety of research projects as well as delivering teaching and training.

Having had a long-term interest in working within the humanitarian sector, I joined MapAction in 2020 as a volunteer and have loved being part of such a great team and getting involved in a variety of response and preparedness work. 

As I step into this new role I look forward to working alongside the team to grow and develop the geospatial support that we can provide to our growing range of international partners. I also want to ensure that emergencies are sufficiently supported with GIS capability and am keen to help evolve MapAction’s Geospatial offers. 

It looks set to be an exciting year full of new challenges and opportunities.

View a short video of Gemma.

MapAction renews partnership with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency

Liz Riley, CEO of CDEMA signing the MoU in an online signing ceremony
Liz Riley, CEO CDEMA

MapAction is proud to renew its Memorandum of Understanding with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) for another four years. 

MapAction’s collaboration with CDEMA and its participating countries through training and building capacity, enables better integration of geospatial technologies into disaster risk management.

The new MOU will support CDEMA’s capacity to provide geospatial expertise to its deployment teams, allow for GIS training across participating states and provide geospatial mapping and technical support upon request. 

Executive Director of CDEMA Elizabeth Riley stated, “The renewal of our MOU supports our vision of a digitally transformed CDEMA, essential to positioning CDEMA for the future. We are committed to the integration of digital technology into all areas of CDEMA’s operations and we thank MapAction for supporting us on this journey.”

Climate change and it’s growing impact in the Caribbean is well documented. Liz Hughes CEO, MapAction said, “We know the Caribbean region suffers particularly from extreme weather conditions as a result of climate related changes around the world and we recognise that we will all need to work together to support CDEMA in the challenging role of leadership through this. This past year alone, we have done just that on the St Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname and Guyana emergencies demonstrating the possibilities of remote support even where emergencies have become increasingly complex.”  

Recently MapAction has worked with CDEMA to implement a successful simulation exercise, undertake training courses and create a multi-faceted virtual platform that hosts risk management data and information that’s accessible to stakeholders to facilitate analysis, research, greater awareness of risk management and climate change adaptation in the region.

We look forward to the opportunity to learn from CDEMA and share the experience, knowledge and skills in the region to partners worldwide.

USAID logo
This work was made possible thanks to the generous support of the U.S. Agency for International Development Bureau for Humanitarian Affairs as part of a programme to improve cooperation in the humanitarian sector.

MapAction partners to support COVID-19 vaccine delivery

Administering billions of shots of COVID-19 vaccine around the world is a logistical challenge of unprecedented proportions. It is even more complex in countries lacking basic healthcare infrastructure, cold storage or comprehensive transport networks, or where accurate population information is not available.

Understanding how geospatial analysis can help, MapAction is partnering with other geographic information specialists to help coordinate the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in 15 low-income countries with acute humanitarian needs. 

The Geographic Information Management Initiative for COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery (GIM Initiative), which launches today, aims to help local partners tackle critical issues such as the selection of distribution sites, the planning of healthcare workers’ journeys to remote locations when no up-to-date maps exist, how to record doses and follow up with vaccinated people, and challenges around accessing the most vulnerable communities, including settlements that aren’t yet mapped. 

MapAction is joined in the GIM Initiative by Alcis, CartONG, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap and iMMAP.