The drought in the Grand Sud of Madagascar deepened in October 2021, with 36 per cent of the region’s territory in severe drought (alarm) and 1 per cent in extreme drought (urgent); a further 62 per cent of the territory was classified as in need of ‘vigilance’, leaving only 1 per cent of the Grand Sud classified as ‘normal’, according to the Normalized Differentiation Vegetation Index (NDVI). The situation was particularly grave in Amboasary, where more than 44 per cent of the territory was in severe drought and 3 per cent extreme, according to UNICEF’s October Drought Monitoring Bulletin. Shortages in water led to an increase in water borne disease in some areas, with bloody diarrhoea increasing in Anosy region.
Over 1.31 million people were severely food insecure as the Grand Sud of Madagascar entered the annual lean season (October to April), including at least 28,000 people facing famine-like conditions. Several markets reported shortages of staple foods in October—such as local rice (Ambovombe and Ampanihy), maize (Ambovombe and Betioky) and dry cassava (Amboasary)—while the food prices were high across the region and most pronounced in Ambovombe, according to the WFP price monitoring bulletin. Following a small harvest of sweet potatoes in August and September, and a significant increase in humanitarian assistance, the nutrition situation improved slightly in the third quarter, but remained critical when compared to the previous year. About 40,310 children were acutely malnourished by the end of September, of whom 3,102 were severely malnourished, according to the third quarter nutrition mass screening.
In response, humanitarians continued to scale-up the delivery of life-saving and life-sustaining assistance, reaching more than 908,400 people in the Grand Sud by the end of October 2021. Over 907,100 people received food security and livelihoods support, while more than 265,000 people were assisted to access safe water. More than 81,700 children were treated for acute malnutrition, 83,100 were vaccinated against preventable diseases, more than 93,300 received school kits and 18,400 were treated against deadly diseases. Some 35,200 people were reached with awareness-raising campaigns to prevent gender-based violence and increase knowledge of reproductive health issues, and more than 14,200 pregnant women received antenatal care.Since September 2021, some 370,000 people facing Emergency (IPC 4) and Catastrophic (IPC 5) food insecurity began receiving full rations, while people in Crisis (IPC 3) continued to receive half rations.
The number of humanitarian organizations responding to the drought in the Grand Sud has grown significantly in 2021, rising from 14 in January to 26 in October. However, while the response has expanded in scale and scope in the districts of Betroka (136 per cent of targeted people reached), Taolagnaro (98 per cent), Betioky (92 per cent) and Ampanihy (83 per cent), in several other districts—especially Tishombe (36 per cent) and Bekily (49 per cent)—response coverage has been lower, including due to underfunding.
Donors have given generously to enable humanitarian partners to ramp-up their response. However, as the Grand Sud enters the lean season (October-April), more funding is urgently needed to respond to the increasing needs in the months ahead. Of the US$231 million required between January 2021 and May 2022, some $124.7 million had been received by the end of September 2021. A further $106 million is urgently required for life-saving and life-sustaining actions until May 2022.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.