Madagascar: UN Body Warns of Looming Famine in Madagascar, Children At Risk

Persistent drought in southern Madagascar has left hundreds of thousands of people on the brink of famine and stoked acute malnutrition among children, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has warned.

Madagascar’s Ministry of Health data revealed that 16.5 percent of children under five now suffer from acute malnutrition, almost double the proportion four months ago, according to a WFP briefing note published on 30 April.

The Ambovombe district in the Indian Ocean island’s far south has been the worst-hit.

Acute malnutrition there exceeds 27 percent, “putting the lives of many children at risk,” WFP said.

“The scale of the catastrophe is beyond belief,” said WFP Senior Director of Operations Amer Daoudi, on a mission in the area.

The unrelenting drought in #Madagascar is forcing hundreds of thousands of people to the brink of #famine.

With acute #malnutrition rates continuing to rise, urgent action is required to address this unfolding humanitarian crisis.⬇️

– World Food Programme (@WFP) April 29, 2021

Heart breaking scenes

“We have witnessed heart-breaking scenes of severely malnourished children and starving families,” Daoudi said in a statement, calling for “money and resources now to help the people of Madagascar”.

Some 1.35 million people have been left in need of emergency food and nutrition assistance by the ongoing drought which intensified from the start of the lean season in September.