Madagascar’s Hungry ‘Holding On for Dear Life’, WFP Chief Warns

Thousands of families in southern Madagascar are on the edge of starvation, and “holding on for dear life”, the UN food agency chief said on Wednesday – after bearing witness to the suffering firsthand – urging the world to step-up and take action.

World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley, explained that he’d met women and children who had “walked for hours” to get to the food distribution points.

“These were the ones who were healthy enough to make it”, he added.

Climate change factor

Southern Madagascar is experiencing its worst drought in four decades with more than 1.14 million people food insecure, the top UN official said in a statement, from a nutrition centre in the region.

Of those, an estimated 14,000 people are already in catastrophic conditions, known as IPC Phase 5, which will double by October.

“There have been back-to-back droughts in Madagascar which have pushed communities right to the very edge of starvation”, he explained.

Drawing attention to suffering families and people dying from severe hunger, he spelled out that “this is not because of war or conflict, this is because of climate change”.

While this area of the world has contributed nothing to climate change, they are “paying the highest price”, he added.


The gravity of the situation has forced thousands of people to leave their homes to search for food while those remaining barely get by, surviving with measures like foraging for wild food, according to WFP.