Madagascar

Madagascar: Rising malnutrition as drought grips the south

Format
News and Press Release
Source
Posted
Originally published
JOHANNESBURG, 26 January (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WF) in Madagascar called for additional donor assistance on Monday to purchase some 4,000 mt of maize to feed around 130,000 people because poor rains had jeopardised the 2003/04 agricultural season.
"At a national level we could say that there has been, so far, sufficient rainfall. However, at a micro-regional level, the situation is entirely different, particularly in the south. According to the farmers, they would be very lucky if the April harvest could feed them and their families for a month," WFP country director Bodo Henze told IRIN.

Although the rainfall in late December 2003 and early January had damaged secondary roads in the south, it was insufficient for farming purposes.

The price of basic commodities, in particular maize and rice, continued to rise, while the price of potable water delivered to villages had increased fourfold, to about 2000 Malagasy francs (US 29 cents) per 15-litre bucket. Desperate villagers were hawking their possessions to obtain cash with which to buy food.

Reports of soaring malnutrition rates among children in the 18 southern districts affected by the drought were causing concern - official figures indicated that the malnutrition rate in the south stood at about 35 percent.

WFP said the agency expected a break in the cereal and pulses pipeline from mid-February. To minimise the impact of the break, WFP was purchasing some 500 mt of rice and 200 mt of pulses locally.

"Already regional purchases of maize and international purchase of pulses are being initiated, and should arrive in Madagascar by mid-march 2004," Henze said.

[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 2004