Cactus for food in drought-stricken Madagascar

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Emergency distribution of hot meals to elderly population and malnourished children in the drought-affected regions of southern Madagascar. PHOTO/ WFP 

Thousands of Madagascar residents are at risk of starvation and more than a million are struggling to access sufficient quantities of food after the Country was hit with a devastating famine.

Amnesty International said most people were resorting to eat cactus to survive in the island’s worst drought in 40 years.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) issued a warning and an alarm of the urgent need to “upscale both food aid and agricultural livelihoods assistance to head off a worst-case scenario”

BBC Africa reported that people were selling their belongings and sending children out to work in order to raise money to buy food especially in worst hit Southern Madagascar.

The WFP in its warning for humanitarian need said, already three-quarters of the population in the worst affected areas had already crossed “alarming 27 percent” of global acute malnutrition rates.

The drought, the worst in four decades, has grown worse in over three consecutive years, and the WFP said it has wiped out harvests and made it hard for people to access to food.

The situation has however been made worse as the country closed its borders at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, making it difficult for aid agencies to deliver supplies.


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