Crisis as Madagascar Breadbasket Shrinks, Drought Takes Toll

The southern region of Madagascar has been the hardest hit by drought for three consecutive years. It has been described by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) as a humanitarian catastrophe, with 1,5 million people - half the region's population - needing immediate emergency food assistance. Three straight years of drought have wiped out harvests and hampered people's access to food and Covid-19 is compounding their suffering, it says. While organisations like the African Development Bank has offered financial aid for power projects and assisted the industrial and financial sectors, the stark reality is that the WFP urgently needs funding to run malnutrition treatment programmes. This also includes emergency school feeding for 150,000 children to ensure they stay in school. Many families have resorted to eating insects, or tamarind mixed with clay, to stay alive.

The combined effects of the drought, COVID-19 and the insecurity upsurge have undermined the already fragile food security and nutrition situation of the population of southern Madagascar (file image).

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