ANTANANARIVO – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a contribution of €2.5 million from the European Union (EU) to support its life-saving food and nutritional assistance in the southern region of Madagascar and its cash programmes for vulnerable communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Southern Madagascar is currently in the grips of a severe hunger crisis, driven by the worst drought in four decades. For the first time ever pockets of IPC phase 5 or ‘Catastrophe’ have been recorded in the south of the country, where people are being forced to eat raw red cactus fruits, wild leaves and locusts due to a lack of food. It’s only country in the world where famine-like conditions are being driven by climate and not conflict.
Funding from the EU has allowed WFP to reach around 245,830 people with emergency food assistance in 9 districts in the south of the country, as well as provide cash assistance to 102,705 vulnerable people who were severely affected by the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I have not witnessed people facing such hunger and desperation in a long time. We need to act fast to make sure every child and family has food on their plates and no one goes hungry. We are very grateful to donors like the European Union, who help us provide vital assistance to these communities." said Moumini Ouedraogo, WFP Representative in Madagascar.
There are 14,000 people living in famine like conditions today. Some 1.14 million people in the Grand Sud have been suffering from hunger since last September and are in need of emergency assistance. Acute malnutrition among children under five has doubled in the last few months, reaching 27% in the worst hit areas.
Thanks to its donors, WFP has so far supported 750,000 people in southern Madagascar since the beginning of the lean season, from October 2020 to April 2021. However, poor rains during the planting season signal another failed harvest this year and food production is expected to be less than 50 percent of the last five- year average.
For the next lean season, WFP urgently needs US$78.6 million to provide life-saving food to 674,000 of those most vulnerable in southern Madagascar.
The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
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