New York [US], November 19 (ANI): The international community must step up support to Madagascar, where more than one million people in the south are facing severe hunger, a top UN aid official said on Thursday in a renewed appeal for solidarity and funding.
The impacts of the most acute drought in over 40 years, combined with sandstorms and pests, have made it nearly impossible for people in the Grand Sud to grow their own food for at least three years now.
"The world cannot look away. People in Madagascar need our support now, and into the future," said Issa Sanogo, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country.
The World Food Programme (WFP) recently warned that the situation in southern Madagascar could become the first-ever famine caused by climate change.
The UN and partners are seeking USD 231 million to cover operations through May 2022.
Although nearly USD 120 million has been received so far, the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, said more funding is urgently needed to provide food, water, health services and life-saving nutrition treatment in the months ahead.
Sanogo recently visited the Grand Sud where he saw "the human face of the global climate crisis."
The drought has left more than 1.3 million people facing severe hunger, including some 30,000 people who are facing life-threatening famine-like conditions.
"Women, children and families are eating cactus or locusts to survive this drought and more than half a million children are acutely malnourished," he said. "This is happening in a country and a region that has contributed the least to climate change."
The crisis has forced families to take their children out of school so they can help with tasks such as finding food and water.
Gender-based violence and child abuse have risen, and people have been displaced from rural areas to urban centres in search of sustenance and services. (ANI)