Climate change has been blamed for the severe droughts that have caused Madagascar’s ongoing famine.
The droughts have left the country’s residents with very limited food resources, pushing residents to the brink of starvation.
More than one million people are said to have been left ‘food insecure’ as a result of the droughts, 14,000 of which are in ‘catastrophic conditions’ according to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
The organisation has warned that this number may double by October if action isn’t taken to help those in need.
This is reportedly the worst drought to have hit Madagascar in 40 years. People have been living off raw red cactus fruits, wild leaves, and locusts for several months, The Independent reports.
Tamaria in Fandiova Centre, Amboasary, told the WFP about the ongoing situation in her village.
The mother-of-seven said:
There is nothing to do here. I have no land so I cannot cultivate anything. We live on wild tubers like fangitse and the red cactus in the forest. We sold all our domestic goods, including spoons. If we find green vegetables and want to cook them, for example, we need to borrow pots from other people. I have nothing left and it is painful.
‘There is no activity, no work opportunity, no harvest, and nothing to put on the table,’ she continued. ‘Two of my children usually go to the forest to gather wild tubers. I am staying at home during the whole day with nothing to do but wait for them to be back with what they have gathered. I walk 4km to find what water I can.’
WFP Executive Director David Beasley explained that the famine is ‘not because of war or conflict, this is because of climate change’.
He added that people in Madagascar are ‘paying the highest price’ for an environmental crisis they didn’t contribute towards.
It’s believed that it’s the first country to have suffered famine as a result of climate change.
The WFP has estimated that it needs $78 million to respond to Madagascar’s famine. The funding would help provide rations of 50kg of maize, 10kg of beans and two litres of oil, as well as food for young children who are in desperate need of aid.
Planting season is said to be less than two months ago, but the forecast for food production is ‘bleak’ as the land is covered by sand, and there’s a limited chance of rain.
You can donate to the WFP here.
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