An El Niño-related drought is ongoing in the South and West, with certain areas facing one of the driest rainy seasons in 35 years. Although sufficient rainfall in central and northern parts of country will contribute to near-average harvests in those areas, staple food production at a national-level will likely be below-average due to significant declines in production in drought-affected areas.
Poor households in the south, particularly in Androy, Atsimo Andrefana, Tsihombe and Ambovombe, will continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity between February and April 2016 due to the effects of two consecutive years of below-average crop production in 2014 and 2015 and an ongoing, extended lean season caused by drought-related delays in 2016 harvests.
Between April and August, main season harvests will slightly improve food insecurity in the South, although many households will still face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes given the effects of expected below-average harvests. Crop failures in the districts of Tsihombe and Ambovombe, however, will likely result in a continuation of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes for affected populations in these districts.
Looking towards the next lean season (December 2016 to February 2017), food insecurity will likely escalate across drought-affected areas of southern Madagascar both in terms of severity of outcomes and the magnitude of the food insecure population. Emergency humanitarian assistance to save lives, treat and prevent acute malnutrition, and protect livelihoods will be needed for worst-affected populations.