HoverAid 2020: The Plan

HoverAid is a Christian humanitarian charity providing medical care, community health programmes, and emergency relief to isolated communities in Madagascar. We engineer and use hovercraft and other means to bring aid and development where hunger, HIV, malaria and lack of clean drinking water affect the health of millions.

In 2020 we hope to expand our medical and healthcare work, continue to support communities affected by the worst floods they have ever suffered, and develop our capabilities at our base in Tana and beyond.

In January 2020, Madagascar experienced extensive flooding across the island which saw over 30 people dead, many missing and at least 116,000 people displaced. We have been able to reach inaccessible communities devasted by the floods on the
Betsiboka River system in Northern Madagascar, to assess immediate needs and to bring emergency supplies for basic survival to around 1000 households.

Subsequently, we have been involved with rebuilding lives, homes, and livelihoods,
restoring clean water and food supplies and providing ongoing medical care, as well as helping reconstruct the school in Ambato Boeny.


Madagascar is one of the poorest nations in the world. Of a population of 26 million – which has been doubling every 22 years – it also has some of the worst child survival rates in the world:
• 71% of the population survive on less than US$2 per day);
• 44% of the people are aged 0-14 years
• 50% of children suffer from acute and chronic malnutrition
Only 51% of the population access drinking water and 10% have access to basic sanitation. The vast majority of the Malagasy people having extremely limited or no access to even basic health care. There is only one doctor for every 10,000 people in Madagascar, with most of these residing in the capital city.

Across Madagascar, the west low plateau consists of many river systems and tributaries. The hot and humid climate means that tropical fevers are endemic and the country is prone to destructive cyclones, for which January 2020, has seen some of the worst
flooding ever recorded in North Madagascar due to a cyclical weather phenomenon in the Indian Ocean, partly due to global warming.


Reaching remote locations in Madagascar is extremely difficult by 4×4 trucks,
which, especially during the rainy season, means it is almost impossible to reach many
parts of Madagascar.

For communities living in proximity to shallow river systems, a hovercraft is an effective
means to reach remote inaccessible areas. The hovercraft provides an efficient motorised
means of enabling community-scale relief and medical support to reach areas where all other forms of transport fail. They can travel at 40-50 km/per hour, and thus just half-an-hours’ travel from one location to another by hovercraft would take two days to walk. Hovercraft can get to places where other vehicles such as 4×4 vehicles, light aircraft and larger boats can’t.

In Madagascar, our approach to relief and development amongst isolated communities is done through:

• Enabling local Malagasy doctors to volunteer in providing immediate medical care through 5-day Madagascar Medical Safari (MMS) trips
• Providing disaster mitigation and emergency relief within communities. This includes assessing needs in the immediate aftermath of floods, providing emergency supplies, rebuilding communities and promoting disaster preparedness for future floods
• Training local community representatives in healthcare and good hygiene for the prevention of disease
• Implementing community-based clean water and sanitation programmes through the WASH initiative
• Working in partnership with other Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and local authorities to provide sustainable solutions for isolated communities experiencing extreme poverty

Each Madagascar Medical Safari on average involves 300 to 400 medical consultations, 20 minor surgical procedures and 10 major procedures over one week, as well as dental extractions, eye tests, and scans. They are made up of a team of up to eight medical
professionals per programme (mainly Malagasy volunteers, with occasional European or Koreans) who both treat the sick and educate the community in healthy living. The medical professionals are employed by the Madagascar Ministry of Health and include
surgeons, GPs, dentists, anaesthetists, nurses and eye surgeons.

It is not uncommon for people to walk 50 miles or up to three days to receive treatment from our medical team. Medical procedures often include treating wounds, tumours and fractured bones which, if left untreated, can become life threatening conditions.


Overall expenditure for 2020 to cover all the activities we wish to undertake is £316,000. This includes:

• Medical Safaris: We have 14 Madagascar Medical Safaris (MMSs) already planned for 2020, but it is a priority to target additional MMSs and healthcare support to communities around the Betsiboka River system who have been devastated by the January floods. We would like to deliver 17 safaris overall, using a combination of transport

• Refurbishment of the additional Madagascar-based hovercraft to full operational readiness, in addition to the Vortex 5 and River Rover 403 already being deployed

• Emergency response to January 2020 floods, post-emergency rebuilding and follow up work, and establishment of rapid reaction fund for the inevitable future occurrences. This has been raised directly through our 2020 Madagascar Flood appeal

• Madagascar office, workshop, and staff costs. This covers the planning, organisation and management of all activities, maintenance of vehicles, and the base itself, with the office staff, mechanics, and drivers

• UK office and workshop. This covers technical and operational management, fundraising, supporter relations, accounts, communications, events, hovercraft maintenance and development of improved craft for future use

HoverAid does not benefit from statutory government funding, and our current and known guaranteed income only cover a proportion of these activities. Fundraising via individuals, events, and grant applications is continuous.


Please DONATE if you can.

If you would like to discuss the work of
HoverAid, and how you might best
contribute to our valuable mission, please
do get in touch


John Greaves – Chief Executive Officer
Hoveraid UK, Unit 2 Chalk Farm, High Street,
Babraham, Cambridge, CB22 3AG
T: 020 8144 2338 M: 07771 930938


Charity Reg:

• Bank transfer: Our account details are available on request
• Cheque: Please make cheques payable to ‘HoverAid’ or “The HoverAid Trust”, at our office address

Thank you

John Greaves

CEO of The HoverAid Trust

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