Madagascar: Urgent call for food aid

Report
from IRIN
Published on 08 Oct 2003
JOHANNESBURG, 8 October (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) in Madagascar on Wednesday said it needed 2,000 mt of maize immediately to continue feeding some 270,000 beneficiaries across the 18 southern districts most affected by recent cyclones and ongoing drought conditions.
"Due to logistical delays there is now a shortfall of about 2,000 mt of maize. The contributions have been made, but it takes a long time before it actually arrives at the port," Annemarie Isler, WFP spokeswoman for Madagascar told IRIN.

As a result of insufficient donor support, WFP in June extended its emergency appeal for food aid to the Indian Ocean island until the end of 2003. Last November WFP launched an emergency appeal for about US $8.2 million to provide food to some 400,000 people.

Isler added that desperate villagers continued to hawk their personal belonging in markets to obtain cash with which to buy food.

"The prices of basic food commodities remained stable, and the fact that the government subsidised 700 mt of rice brought some relief to the situation, but we still see families selling their cattle in order to purchase food," she said.

According to a nutritional survey undertaken by Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in July, 18.4 percent of children in the 18 affected districts were found to be malnourished. The south of the country has not had a proper harvest in the past two years, which has led to an increase in the number of severely malnourished children arriving at government-run nutrition centres.

Another concern were reports of food shortages in communities neighbouring the 18 districts. However, WFP noted that the situation in these villages was "stable".

WFP said the agency was pre-positioning food stocks in preparation for the cyclone season, expected to begin later this month.

The UN food agency also added that it hoped to introduce an HIV/AIDS component to existing programmes in the south of the country. HIV prevalence in Madagascar is now stands at 1.04 percent.

[ENDS]

IRIN-SA
Tel: +27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11 447-5472
Email: IRIN-SA@irin.org.za

[This Item is Delivered to the "Africa-English" Service of the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. For further information, free subscriptions, or to change your keywords, contact e-mail: IRIN@ocha.unon.org or Web: http://www.irinnews.org . If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Reposting by commercial sites requires written IRIN permission.]

Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2003

IRIN:

A selection of IRIN reports are posted on ReliefWeb. Find more IRIN news and analysis at http://www.irinnews.org

Une sélection d'articles d'IRIN sont publiés sur ReliefWeb. Trouvez d'autres articles et analyses d'IRIN sur http://www.irinnews.org

This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. Refer to the IRIN copyright page for conditions of use.

Cet article ne reflète pas nécessairement les vues des Nations Unies. Voir IRIN droits d'auteur pour les conditions d'utilisation.