New Delhi, Jan 29 : The Indian Navy on Tuesday launched a humanitarian initiative after it came to know about a natural disaster in Madagascar.

Bad weather has displaced nearly 107,000 people there, with Prime Minister Christian Ntsay declaring the situation a "national disaster".

At least 31 people have been killed and a lakh of people displaced by heavy rains and flooding in the southern African island nation.

Seeing the scenario, India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, "In this time of national disaster, we stand in solidarity with Madagascar." Singh said that Indian Navy has already launched "Operation Vanilla" and has urgently diverted Indian Navy Ship Airavat to provide support in relief operations.

"Indian Navy has launched 'Operation Vanilla' in support of the national disaster in Madagascar. INS Airavat, which was Mission Deployed, has been diverted for the same," Indian Navy said in a statement.

Madagascar government spokeswoman Lalatiana Andriatongarivo said in a statement, "The government is calling on national figures and international partners to help the Malagasy people with emergency aid, early recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction."

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