Madagascar: Medair responds to catastrophic hunger and drought crisis

News and Press Release
Originally published


Lausanne, Switzerland, 10 November 2021 – As drought and hunger continue to severally impact Madagascar, Medair - an emergency relief organisation - has begun treating children for malnutrition and providing safe drinking water to some of the most affected communities.

For six consecutive years, the amount of rain in the south of the country has been below average, leading to the region’s worst drought in over 40 years. Moreover, violent windstorms have removed topsoil needed for agriculture, further worsening the situation. The drought has destroyed harvests, hampering people’s access to food.

“Madagascar is one of the countries in the world most affected by hunger and malnutrition,” explains Evelyn Speich-Baer, Medair’s Madagascar Director. “Families have sold all their belongings, just to survive. They need to walk up to 40 kilometres to find water. We are also seeing an increase in common diseases and diarrhoea cases, as people’s immune systems weaken.”

The number of acutely malnourished children is expected to quadruple over the coming months. According to UNICEF, half a million children under the age of five in southern Madagascar could be acutely malnourished by early 2022, with 110,000 in a critical state.

Despite the catastrophic situation, few humanitarian organisations are working in this region due to significant access difficulties and security concerns. Medair is among the organisations that have decided to respond.

Earlier this year, Medair began delivering safe drinking water and essential hygiene items to affected communities, and is set to build a water tank and pipeline to serve nine villages around Marolinta, one of the hardest-hit areas.

“The situation is catastrophic and will continue to worsen without immediate action,” warns Speich-Baer. “Human lives and livelihoods are at stake. There is no time to waste.”

For media

Media enquiries should be directed to:

In Madagascar:
• Mialy Chrystelle Rakotomavo, Communications Officer (Malagasy, French, English):
+261 32 05 146 02

• Jonathan Kyle, Communications Manager (English, French) +243 (0) 815 287 506

In Switzerland: • Daniela Dönges, Press Officer (German, English, French) +33 (0)6 20 09 40 53