Madagascar: African Development Bank Funds Emergency Food Effort for Thousands Starving in Southern Madagascar

The UN's World Food Programme provided hundreds of meals to malnourished children and elderly people weakened by hunger in the commune of Sihanamaro, 30 km from Ambovombe, the capital of the Androy region in southern Madagascar.

The African Development Bank has made a grant of $686,000 to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) which will provide much needed food relief to thousands of people on the brink of starvation in southern Madagascar.

The support of more than 800 tons of critical food supplies comes at a critical time for Madagascar, which is suffering its worst drought in 40 years. Severe hunger has hit southern Madagascar as communities witness an almost total disappearance of food sources, creating a full-blown nutrition emergency. People have had to resort to desperate survival measures such as eating locusts, raw red cactus fruits or wild leaves. For the first time ever, pockets of IPC phase 5 or Catastrophe have been recorded signalling deepening hunger.

At least 1.14 million people in the Grand Sud need emergency food and nutrition assistance and have been suffering from hunger since the start of the lean season last September. In Amboasary Atsimo, about 14,000 people are estimated to be in IPC Phase 5 (defined as Catastrophe category), according to the last number of the Integrated food security Phase Classification of May 2021. This number is expected to double over the next lean season.

"We are very grateful for the generosity of the African Development Bank. Their kind support affirms their commitment to ensure the food and nutrition security of the Malagasy people, which is vital for the development of the country and saving lives," said Moumini Ouedraogo, WFP Country Representative in Madagascar.

This contribution from the African Development Bank will allow WFP to provide around 72,000 people in the south of Madagascar with life-saving food assistance for three months from May to July. The package includes 510 tons of rice, 195 tons of vegetables, 78 tons of vegetable oil, 34 tons of super cereals and 14.24 tons of nutritional supplementary feeding.

WFP urgently needs US$74 million over the next six months to provide life-saving food to those most vulnerable in southern Madagascar.

The government contribution and the half ration currently provided by WFP and partners keeps people alive but does not meet their nutritional needs. Urgent funding is necessary to ensure adequate food reaches those most in need.

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