This is the fourth year that drought has devastated southern Madagascar. More than one million people, or two out of five residents, of his Grand Sud region require emergency food aid in what the United Nations is calling a “climate change famine.”
Climate change is battering the Indian Ocean island and several U.N. agencies have warned in the past few months of a “climate change famine” here. Rainfall patterns in Madagascar are growing more erratic — they’ve been below average for nearly six years, said researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Temperatures in southern Africa are rising at double the global rate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says. Cyclones, already more frequent in Madagascar than any other African country, are likely getting stronger as the earth warms.
Conflict has been a central cause of famine and hunger in countries such as Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, when fighting stopped people moving to find food. But Madagascar is at peace.
The Malagasy government is also giving parcels of land to some families fleeing the worst-hit areas. Two hundred families received land with chickens and goats, which are more drought-resilient than cows. They were also encouraged to plant cassava, which is more drought-resilient than maize.