Madagascar drought

Madagascar’s worst hunger crisis in years

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Madagascar’s unrelenting drought in the southern part of the country is forcing hundreds of thousands of people to the brink of famine, warns the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
The African island’s worst drought in 40 years has left more than a million people facing a year of desperate food shortages.

“The scale of the catastrophe is beyond belief. If we don’t reverse this crisis, if we don’t get food to the people in the south of Madagascar, families will starve and lives will be lost,” said WFP’s Senior Director of Operations, Amer Daoudi

The situation has been critical since September 2020, the start of the lean season when families had already depleted their food supplies and eaten their vital seed stocks, leaving nothing for the November/December 2020 planting season.

Currently, up to 80% of the population in certain areas in the south is resorting to desperate survival measures such as eating locusts, raw red cactus fruits or wild leaves.

madagascar drought

The 2021 harvest prospects are poor, with the failure of the rains during the last planting season indicating another failed harvest and as a result a longer tougher lean season (from October 2021 to March 2022). Food production in 2021 is expected to be less than 40 percent of the last five-year average, making it harder for communities on the brink of survival to feed themselves.

Semi-arid conditions in southern Madagascar, combined with high levels of soil erosion, deforestation and unprecedented drastic sandstorms, have covered croplands and pasture with sand and transformed arable land into wasteland across the region.

Madagascar an island State off the East African coast in the Indian Ocean which produces nickel, cobalt and ilmenite, experienced a 3.8 percent decline in economic output in 2020, which has not been seen for over a decade. The country’s debt rate is one of the lowest in Africa. It stands at nearly 40 percent,
according to Thierry Rajaona, chairman of the Madagascar Business Group who spoke to AfricaNews.

With reporting by AfricaNews