For many, Africa brings upon the sense of unknown. Other then the violence and
AIDS media coverage associated with Africa, most Americans do not typically think or
involve themselves with any country of Africa. Prior to the blockbuster hit,
the fascinating country of Madagascar went undetected by most Americans.
While in the
movie, Madagascar seemed like tropical paradise, the nation certainly shares similar
socioeconomic problems with other African countries. The country’s economy relies
almost solely upon agriculture and has a massive population living below the poverty
line. In addition, the country remains extremely vulnerable to high mortality in disasters
and outbreaks of deadly diseases. Madagascar is susceptible to natural disasters such as,
cyclones, droughts, and epidemics due to certain geographical and social characteristics
of the country. The goal of this research paper is to reveal the underlying social and
geographical structures of Madagascar contributing to the country’s vulnerability to
natural and technological disasters.
The isolated tropical island of Madagascar is located off the east coast of Africa,
east of Mozambique. The nation gained its’ independence from France in 1960 and
became the Republic of Madagascar; its’ government is still run like the French civil law
system. Not surprisingly, the official language of the country is French. As of July 2004,
Madagascar is home to about 18,040,341 citizens (CIA 2006).
The nation is comprised
of many different ethnic groups, including the, Merina, Malayo-Indonesian, Cotiers,
French, Indian, Creole, and Comoran. “The society as a whole remains divided into a
number of unequal social groups based entirely on descent. Among the Merina,