Stony Brook University’s Centre ValBio in Madagascar was hit by a cyclone on Jan. 9. The center protects local ecosystems through conservation projects that benefit the local community. TEE LA ROSA/FLICKR VIA CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Centre ValBio — Stony Brook University’s research facility in Madagascar —  is raising money to help the surrounding community, which was devastated by a cyclone earlier this month.

Cyclone Ava made landfall in Madagascar on Jan. 9, with winds up to 119 miles per hour. In total, the storm left 20,000 people displaced and 36 dead.

None of the students conducting research there were injured, but their fieldwork was affected, according to an email from Lindsi Walker, senior assistant dean of International Academic Programs and Services.

So far, Centre ValBio has raised $3,500 for relief efforts, Patricia Wright, the founder of Centre ValBio and a distinguished professor of anthropology at Stony Brook University, said. The center’s primary concern is delivering food and water to the people in the Ifanadiana District, where the cyclone demolished 1,000 homes and displaced around 6,000 people, according to SBU Happenings. Those who lost their homes have since been moved into schools and other high-rise buildings.

“What happens with cyclones is the bridges are flooded out,” Wright, who was with the students on a trip to the Centre ValBio when the cyclone hit, said. Since bridges along the main road were demolished, transportation to certain areas has been impacted.

Madagascar is expected to face four more storms by the end of the cyclone season. This could spell trouble for the region’s food supply, since hundreds of acres of crops were already destroyed in the first storm. To prepare, Wright said that the best course of action is to continue collecting food and water for the communities.

“We got about twenty bags of rice and twenty smaller bags of beans,” Wright said of the purchases made so far. The center has also invested in soup and salts.

To donate to Centre ValBio’s relief efforts, checks should be made payable to the Stony Brook Foundation with “Cyclone Ava” in the memo. The mailing address is ICTE, Stony Brook University, SBS Room N-203, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4310.


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