Famine 'Tightens Grip' on Southern Madagascar: UN

Food security uncertain in South Madagascar


May 12, 2021 07:08 PM

More than 1 million people in southern Madagascar are facing acute food insecurity as the region grapples with its worst drought in four decades, the United Nations said on Tuesday

A helicopter of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) flies through millions of Locusts as spreads pesticide to fight against a swarm of locusts threatening to reach Amparihibe village on May 7, 2014 in Tsiroanomandidy, Madagascar. Photo: VCG

Five straight years of low rainfall have wiped out harvests and hampered access to food, compounding the effects of erosion caused by deforestation and devastating sandstorms.

"Around 1.14 million people in the south of Madagascar are facing high levels of acute food insecurity," the World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organization said in a joint statement.

Almost 14,000 of these people have been classed in category five, the highest level of the UN's food scarcity ranks - a first for Madagascar since the scale was introduced in 2016.

"With each day that passes, more lives are at stake as hunger tightens its grip," the statement said. UN agencies are seeking to draw attention to a humanitarian crisis it says "risks being invisible."

The Indian Ocean island country's borders have been shut since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, making it difficult for aid agencies to provide relief. Acute malnutrition rates are rising in the worst-affected Amboasary Atsimo district, where up to three quarters of the population have been impacted by disasters.

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