The World Food Program reports successive years of extreme weather events have plunged thousands of people in Madagascar into what WFP officials say is the world’s first climate-induced famine. Five years of consecutive drought compounded by sandstorms, as well as cyclones, an invasion of locusts and growing insecurity have created what World Food Program officials call the perfect storm.
The latest U.N. Integrated Food Security Phase Classification or IPC assessment of the food situation in Madagascar found 1.3 million people are suffering from acute hunger. WFP Deputy Country Director in Madagascar, Aduino Mangoni, said an estimated 30,000 people are suffering from famine. He said some people who have sold everything—their land, their cattle, their household goods are leaving their villages behind and migrating toward urban centers in search of help.
“Whenever one enters a nutrition center, the situation is heartbreaking, with silence, no joy. Kids just staring at you and in a situation of really skin and bones,” he said. Mangoni said he has worked in several emergencies including Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, in Darfur. He said he has never seen children in such a lamentable condition as these in Madagascar.