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 Guardian.com 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 Guardian.com