2009.01.30: January 30, 2009: Headlines: COS - Madagascar: Safety: Blogs - Madagascar: Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer Tales of Selb writes: Tranquility in Tana?

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By Admin1 (admin) (141.157.12.165) on Monday, February 02, 2009 - 4:59 pm: Edit Post

Peace Corps Volunteer Tales of Selb writes: Tranquility in Tana?

Peace Corps Volunteer  Tales of Selb writes:  Tranquility in Tana?

As for Peace Corps, today they are beginning the basic steps towards consolidating volunteers. In the event of an emergency, volunteers in any given region have rallying points to meet up at. The problem is that those points are usually in the regional capital, which is where all the problems have been heating up. Peace Corps has been racing to come up with a contingency plan for the interim, involving new consolidation points for volunteers in trouble spots. A trouble spot would be a place with limited number of banks or roads in the area, which could lead to money or food shortage or major transportation problems. Iím still at the Peace Corps safe house in Tana, waiting for further instructions. There is a chance I will not get to return to site if they do evacuate us, which would be absolutely devastating for me. When I left I only planned to be gone for a few days and packed accordingly, and much more important there are many friends who I would at least have wanted to say good-bye to. If we are evacuated we will go to Kenya for an undetermined period of time, and if that happens it is unlikely we will return to Madagascar. The most concrete thing Peace Corps has decided is that the new group of trainees due to arrive next month will almost certainly be postponed indefinitely.

Peace Corps Volunteer Tales of Selb writes: Tranquility in Tana?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Tranquility in Tana?

Caption: Madagascan soldiers on patrol in Antananarivo on January 29, 2009. The mayor of Madagascar's capital city, Andry Rajoelina, on Monday sought the removal of President Marc Ravalomanana in the wake of violent anti-government protests that left dozens dead. Photo: AFP/File/Richard Bouhet

The day is calm in this capital city. Street vendors hawk their wares, vendors sell their street side treats for all to enjoy, most importantly, at a normal price. The news reports on your favorite major websites are desperately lacking on information from other cities, but they do what they can. Mid-range to larger cities in this country have suffered heavy damage; between looting and mobbing, Sambava, Mahajunga, and Toliara are reported to have been the worst hit. Here in Tana, many smaller stores, family dreams, and long-established neighborhood fortunes have been destroyed. But that is over now.

Tomorrow is largely believed to be a tipping point in this fragile sandglass. If the demonstration proves to be peaceful, Tana will live to see another day for the better. If things go the wrong way, well, thereís no telling how many years it will set back this beautiful country, and how many tears may roll down my cheek. Should a riot mentality set in on this metropolis, they have the capability to destroy this city and all others around this country. It is not promising that the mayor of Tana still refuses to a dialogue with President Ravalomanana

Peace Corps update is as follows: We go to Mantasoa on Saturday, 30th January. We will be on lockdown there for longer than we ever should be. God, I wish to hell I was out of this hellish purgatory. More to follow. This is Justin Selb reporting live, from Antananarivo.

posted by Justin Selb @ 2:10 PM 1 Comments
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Turmoil in Tana

The situation in Tana today has followed suit from yesterday; thereís a general strike and government institutions such as schools and other non-essential offices are completely closed. Yet there is a peaceful calm throughout the city. As far as I know Andry has not yet agreed to a dialogue with Ravolamanana, or vice versa. The success of the immediate future of this country is heavily dependent on getting that dialogue going. Yesterday the American ambassador met privately in separate meetings with both men to try and persuade them to meet, but to no avail.

Problems in other cities have worsened. Toliara has experienced high rates of violent mobbing and looting, and Fort Dauphin is expected to experience general strikes today. Mahajunga in the north has suffered serious damage to its infrastructure, and Sambava in the northeast has been described as a war zone and virtually destroyed.

The question now is whether or not this calm in Tana will guide the country back to order, or if it is simply a lull in between waves of violence. The more longstanding impacts are sure to be economical. A gas scare has already struck the country, with lines wrapping around the blocks at the few gas stations that were in stock. Iíve frequently seen images reminiscent of Baghdad. Another possibility is that if looters strike cell phone towers that would deal a harsh blow to the country in general.

As for Peace Corps, today they are beginning the basic steps towards consolidating volunteers. In the event of an emergency, volunteers in any given region have rallying points to meet up at. The problem is that those points are usually in the regional capital, which is where all the problems have been heating up. Peace Corps has been racing to come up with a contingency plan for the interim, involving new consolidation points for volunteers in trouble spots. A trouble spot would be a place with limited number of banks or roads in the area, which could lead to money or food shortage or major transportation problems.

Iím still at the Peace Corps safe house in Tana, waiting for further instructions. There is a chance I will not get to return to site if they do evacuate us, which would be absolutely devastating for me. When I left I only planned to be gone for a few days and packed accordingly, and much more important there are many friends who I would at least have wanted to say good-bye to. If we are evacuated we will go to Kenya for an undetermined period of time, and if that happens it is unlikely we will return to Madagascar. The most concrete thing Peace Corps has decided is that the new group of trainees due to arrive next month will almost certainly be postponed indefinitely.

The city has calmed, but trouble is only being held at bay. Only time will tell what this crisis holds for the future of Madagascar; prosperity or chaos; tranquility or turmoil. This is Justin Selb reporting live, from Antananarivo.




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Headlines: January, 2009; Peace Corps Madagascar; Directory of Madagascar RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Madagascar RPCVs; Safety and Security of Volunteers; Blogs - Madagascar





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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Madagascar; Safety; Blogs - Madagascar

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