UN humanitarians on Thursday warned that hundreds of thousands of people in southern Madagascar face food insecurity due to one of the worst droughts in more than 40 years in the region.
The severe lack of rains and sandstorms have made it nearly impossible for farmers to grow their own food, leaving at least 1.31 million people — nearly two in every five people in the Grand Sud — severely food insecure, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The UN resident coordinator in Madagascar, Issa Sanogo, who visited the Grand Sud region recently, reported that needs will rise further as the lean season begins if urgent action is not taken now, said OCHA.
In some regions visited by Sanogo, malnutrition is almost quadruple the five-year average. In Amboasary Atsimo, about three-quarters of the population is facing severe hunger and about 14,000 people are estimated to be on the brink of famine, He said.
Madagascar is the only conflict-free country that is experiencing catastrophic levels of hunger, with the severe food insecurity in the Grand Sud due to the consequences of the climate crisis, said OCHA.
Since the beginning of this year, donors have provided more than 40 million U.S. dollars, enabling humanitarian partners to reach 800,000 people with desperately needed and life-saving assistance. However, the Flash Appeal, which is now being revised, is just 53 percent funded as of the end of May, it said.
Humanitarians in Madagascar are calling on the international community to step up their support to aid organizations in the country, and urgently provide more funding to save lives and alleviate suffering in the Grand Sud, said OCHA.