The crisis in Madagascar: Humanitarian, food and climate change

The crisis that has now been unfolded in terms of rising food crisis has been a result of years of negligence and the apathy that the area has received.

The southern Madagascar has seen severe droughts from the past three years but recently it has changes into famine amidst the pandemic situation.

According to Africanews the civilian population of the area have been feeding themselves with cactus fruit , a staple fruit of the region, wild potato and now due to three years of no rain stopped bearing fruit and in this situation of crisis the people have started to fill their bellies with white clay and tamarind.

The locals say that they have restored to this measure because the acidity of the tamarind is balanced by the white clay and that it helps fill their bellies.

The report by the World Food  Programme suggests that not only the southern states have had to face this crisis but soon the other states will be facing the crisis. The  WFP has been tackling the situation but the situation is far from good and they say that it will be now impossible to sustain life their with the limited amount of resources.

Humanitarian issue

Madagascar has been facing this issue for quite some time now but the region has been met with apathy by the world at large. The major help has been coming from the NGOs where the rich countries have neglected the area and the crisis it is facing. The WFP reports that the district of Ampanihy, around 80% of the livestock has been lost and the people have very low per capita income and most are unemployed.

This leaves with people having no choice but resorting to measures such as looting, stealing the cattle and robbing on to each other: the situation is anarchic. People have been fighting for survival and the biggest stakeholders in the process the children have lost the most.

Food and Health

Surviving on white clay and tamarind and also on non-nutritious food for several weeks, or months at stretch have stunted the growth of the children in the area. The white clay when consumed at large has resulted in “swollen bellies” in the children and have resulted in numerous deaths.

The locals have been unable to provide their children with the bare minimum requirement of food leading them to witness the deaths in front of their eyes but sometimes when they return fetching food or water they find the dead bodies of their children: this has led them into trauma and has devasted them emotionally.

Climate Change

Climate change has been one of the main reasons behind the arid climate of the region and this type of droughts is not uncommon to the area but a stretch of three years of prolonged drought is really for the first time that the region has experienced. One of the reasons behind the aridity is the effect of El Nino winds.

Much of the island was once covered with evergreen and deciduous forest, but only the Eastern parts is scantly populated with forest cover.

The reports that the plateau suffers seriously from erosion. The forest has been cut in order to clear rice fields, to obtain fuel and building materials, and to export valuable timber such as ebony, rosewood, and sandalwood.

Sources : Africanews and

Drug and alcohol abuse

“An over-indulgence of anything, even something as pure as water, can intoxicate.” – Criss Jami, Venus in Arms

Drugs often alter the way our mind perceives reality. Substance abuse is generally attributed to improper or excessive use of alcohol, medicine or other substances (legal or illegal). Drugs particularly affect an individual’s ability to perform usual actions by delaying them. Teens commonly take drugs due to peer pressure and eventually get addicted. If left untreated, it can result in a myriad of complex problems which may affect an individual’s life down the road. Some common examples of drug abuse are tobacco (nicotine), marijuana, painkillers, cocaine, heroin, benzodiazepines, stimulants, inhalants and sedatives. A few indications of ongoing substance abuse are:
• Sudden lack of money
• Disturbance in sleeping patterns
• Lack of common sense or understanding
• Secrecy about personal life
• Not talking to friends
• Sudden mood swings
• Lapses in memory
• Change in body weight and facial appearance
• Poor eating habits
• Negligence of personal hygiene

Although the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse vary, there are a few common ones which happen to most people. Among them are increased diabetes-related issues, sexual problems, birth defects, loss of bone density, loss in vision, weaker immune system and a higher than average risk of cancer. Early exposure to drugs or alcohol is generally attributed to poor outcomes in adulthood. However there exist some people whose bodies are much more susceptible to get addicted to drugs or alcohol than others. Often people may fall into bad company, which may induce them into taking drugs. Pre-existing mental health issues also contribute to addiction. Troubles in personal life can be a major cause of a person taking drugs. Excessive drug or alcohol abuse can stem from a toxic or broken relationship and this can turn into abuse in the long run. It is very important to keep a check on such habits during troubled times. Children who have exposed to any of their parents or loved ones being under the influence are far more likely to get addicted than the normal teenager. Things seen during childhood often leave a lasting mark in their brain.

The most widely used drugs in India include alcohol, cannabis, opium and heroin. Buprenorphine, propoxyphene and heroin rank the highest in the list of injected drugs. 62.5 million people in India use alcohol, 8.75 million use cannabis, 2 million use opiates while 0.6 million use sedatives or hypnotics. Around 26% of these people require urgent help. Most drugs are illegal and likely will leave the person with a criminal record. India’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act) was passed in 1985 and was underwent amendments in 1989, 2001 and lastly in 2014. The NDPS Act offers strict punishments to people for drug trafficking. In order to aid the NDPS Act, India released the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking act in 1988. This act contains provisions related to preventive detention of anyone who is associated to or performs drug trafficking. Such drugs are only allowed to be used under scientific purposes. Some of India’s drug law enforcement agencies include the Narcotics Control Division, Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN), The Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) as well as other agencies like the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, Customs Commission and the Border Security Force.

“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” – Napoléon Bonaparte

Resources to prevent and diagnose substance abuse exist in order to help people in need. The first priority of such an addicted person should be to talk to a doctor. Other options include going to a rehab facility or participating in local support groups. The Indian Government currently has no national or local system of monitoring drug misuse. The Government could put up banners and posters to spread awareness about drug abuse. Advertisements on television and radio channels could be put up to gain a much higher reach. Schools and colleges may include programmes to educate young minds about the horrors of alcohol and drug usage. The national toll free drug de-addiction helpline is 1800-11-0031.

Reasons as to why addiction occurs are still undergoing research. Among the most commonly proved reasons is the release of a chemical substance in the brain called dopamine. This element is commonly released by the brain during occurrence of pleasure. However, the artificial induction of dopamine release far out shadows the natural release of dopamine in the brain. Thus individuals try to derive pleasure from the drug instead of other natural social activities. People who are addicted may need the drug to feel normal. Their body often feels sick and unwell whenever they cannot take the drug.

Alcohol and drug abuse can be prevented if the Government and today’s youth should work for the betterment of the society. Education should be the primary step which would lead us to such goals. Together we can hope to dream of a better tomorrow.

Fadnavis to meet Maharashtra governor today over the Deshmukh issue.

The BJP leader submitted a memorandum to governor Bhagat Singh koshyari in which he requested a report regarding current situation in the state to be submitted to the President. The Maharashtra Cabinet holded a meeting on Wednesday morning to discuss the Deshmukh issue.

After the meeting, Fadnavis said that the governor should ask the chief minister what action has been taken on the issue of extortion and transfer racket. “CM Uddhav Thackeray has maintained silence on the entire political crisis. We have requested Governor to make him speak and seek a report from him,” said the former chief minister.

The BJP has been trying to attack the three-party ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance over the allegations against state home minister Anil Deshmukh, demanding his resignation. The NCP leader has been accused of corruption by Param Bir Singh, an IPS officer who was transferred as Mumbai police commissioner during the investigation into security threat case against billionaire Mukesh Ambani.

Param Bir Singh said in a letter to CM Uddhav Thackeray that Deshmukh provided Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, arrested in the Amabni Bomb scare case, a target to extort Rs 100 crore from various establishments of Mumbai. Singh has been able to move the Supreme Court against his transfer and to seek a CBI enquiry against Deshmukh.

The NCP, part of MVA, has also backed the minister and their actions, ruling out his resignation. NCP chief Sharad Pawar who was the head of stitching three -party alliance of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress – acting as the chief crisis manager, held a press conference and multi party meeting to discuss the issue. He told reporters on Monday that Deshmukh was recuperating from Covid-19 during the period Param Bir Singh has claimed that Deshmukh was indulged in “extortion activities” through police officers.

But Fadnavis took a stand against the senior politician from Maharashtra over the statement. “Deshmukh was in home quarantine from February 15-27 but met officers and was not in isolation. I feel Pawar Sahab was not briefed properly yesterday,” the BJP leader said.

Fadnavis claimed the Maha Vikas Agadi (MVA) government in the state did not act even on a state intelligence department report containing audio intercepts of “large scale corruption” in police transfers and postings, and said he would seek a probe by the CBI.

The BJP leader met the Union home secretary in Delhi on Tuesday and submitted all the evidence regarding the issue so that they can verify all the documents. “The Union home secretary told me that they will verify document and evidence submitted and report will be sent to the Central government, which will take appropriate action,” Fadnavis told reporters after the meeting.

However, Shiv Sena Leader Sanjay Raut clearly declined that there is nothing serious in the documents which was given to the home secretary by Fadnavis. “The Government will not come under threat with it,” he added.

Meanwhile, amid the protest for his resignation, Deshmukh met Thackeray at the latter’s residence ‘Varsha’ in Mumbai on Tuesday.