Madagascar: Southern Madagascar on Brink of Famine, Warns WFP


Antananarivo — The unrelenting drought in southern Madagascar is forcing hundreds of thousands of people to the brink of famine, warns the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). With acute malnutrition rates continuing to rise, urgent action is required to address this unfolding humanitarian crisis.

Most districts in the South are in the grip of a nutrition emergency with Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) in children under five almost doubling over the last four months, touching an alarming 16.5 percent, as per a recent assessment conducted by the Ministry of Health. Worst affected is the district of Ambovombe where GAM has crossed 27 percent, putting the lives of many children at risk. Children with acute malnutrition are four times more likely to die than healthy children.

“The scale of the catastrophe is beyond belief. If we don’t reverse this crisis, if we don’t get food to the people in the south of Madagascar, families will starve and lives will be lost,” said WFP’s Senior Director of Operations, Amer Daoudi who today visited one of the worst affected areas, Sihanamaro, accompanied by a high-level delegation of ambassadors and senior government officials.

“We have witnessed heart-breaking scenes of severely malnourished children and starving families. We need the money and resources now to help the people of Madagascar.

WFP needs US$74 million for the next six months to save the lives in southern Madagascar and prevent a catastrophe. Following alarm calls received from Amboasary district on the severity of the food crisis, WFP has been progressively assisting up to 750,000 people through food and cash distributions each month.