Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering from one of the worst droughts in the south of Madagascar in 40 years, the most senior UN official in the country has said, warning that the population is facing a severe humanitarian crisis.
Issa Sanogo, the UN Resident Coordinator in Madagascar, visited the area recently and spoke to UN News about how climate change is making life increasingly difficult for the people who live there and how the UN is helping those in need.
The southern part of Madagascar is facing drought for the last three years. The drought has wiped out harvests and hampered people access to food and COVID-19 compounded their suffering
"We started the visit in Betroka, an area known for its insecurity because of the presence of 'Dahalo,' the local name for cattle rustlers, which is now faced with food insecurity due to drought resulting from low rainfall.
"We then moved further south to Amboasary and Ambovombe, two areas located in arid lands, where we encountered populations dealing with crop failures. Here, almost three million people are suffering the consequences of two consecutive extreme droughts. In the town of Amboasary Atsimo, about 75 per cent of the population is facing severe hunger and 14,000 people are on the brink of famine," Sanogo said.
In the village of Marovato, located only eight kilometers from Ambovombe, the people have not been targeted for help, as they are considered part of the urban population and therefore do not meet the criteria for support, UN News reported.
However, these people have been significantly affected by sandstorms; all of their croplands are silted up, and they cannot produce anything.
"Most areas in the south are already in a nutritional emergency, so it is inevitable that women and children will be even more affected if we don't intervene," Sanogo added.