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World News

‘Invisible crisis’ – UN says more than a million are at risk of starvation in Madagascar

by Donna Birrell

Back-to-back droughts in southern Madagascar have left more than a million people at severe risk of hunger, as the country faces its worse drought in 40 years.

The UN World Food Programme says it is an “invisible crisis” that is getting worse every day.  14,000 people are already living in “catastrophic conditions” - this number is likely to double by October without urgent help, according to the UN’s World Food Programme.  

Christian international disability charity CBM, has launched an emergency appeal for aid. Its Programme Manager for CBM in Madagascar is Satry Ramarosan :

“Southern regions of Madagascar are now facing the most severe drought and food crisis in decades. Back to back droughts have left more than 14,000 people in catastrophic conditions; they have no food, no water and they are on the verge of starvation with people resorting to eating insects, leaves, and cactus plants to survive.”

 The charity says crops have failed, livestock have died and thousands of people have left their homes in a desperate search for food. Up to 80% of the population have resorted to desperate survival measures, such as eating locusts, raw red cactus fruits or wild leaves. And acute malnutrition in children has doubled in the last four months. 

Satry Ramarosan says the charity is particularly concerned for people with disabilities and their families who, in times of crises, are least likely to access emergency help :

“People with disabilities are already marginalised but with this crisis their situation is getting from bad to worse. With our partner in the southern regions of Madagascar we are now already working to reach out and respond to this humanitarian situation. Since the situation is getting worse, we urgently need to do more to enable people with disabilities to access food, water and medicine .If we do not do more, people with disabilities in these regions of will remain left behind from all responses and they are more at risk of starvation.”

Kirsty Smith, CEO: “The UN World Food Progamme has highlighted that the situation in Madagascar is the result of climate change. The women, men and children of this region are paying the devastating price for a climate crisis they have done nothing to create.  People are already dying -  and if the world continues to ignore this “invisible crisis”, many more will lose their lives.”

CBM is appealing for funds to provide urgent support to people with disabilities, who are often unable to access emergency aid provided by the Government or other organisations. For more information visit:

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