A hunger-stricken south of Madagascar looks for solutions

Improving Resilience in Hunger-Stricken South Madagascar: Solutions Sought for Prolonged Food Scarcity and Climate Change Effects

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Residents are working to improve the population's resilience amid prolonged periods of food scarcity. Lalandy was cradling her grandson, Berto, in a section for children suffering from acute malnutrition. Her arm was resting on the baby's feeble one.


A nurse at Ambovombe Hospital in Madagascar's southernmost district evaluated the five-month-height-to-weight ratio, observing the line rise progressively after days of therapeutic milk treatment.

Lalandy stated that she sold her last assets to transfer her grandson to the hospital from their house in Bekily, which is around 200 kilometers (124 miles) away. His mother died during childbirth, and the present hunger crisis in Madagascar's large 111-square-kilometer (43-square-mile) Grand Sud region, which encompasses Androy, Anosy, and Atsimo Andrefana, has caused him to lose a lot of weight.

"I didn't think he'd make it," she confessed. "I just brought him here out of desperation." Due to decades of poverty and underdevelopment, as well as a lengthy drought and rising temperatures, 1.6 million people in the Grand Sud were food insecure last year.


The issue has refocused attention on the effects of climate change on the island's 30 million inhabitants. Despite an avalanche of humanitarian goods, at least 1.1 million people are still acutely food insecure. As of February, children aged five and younger were suffering from emergency levels of malnutrition in 13% of the region's districts, according to UNICEF.

The Famine Early Warning System monitor has warned that low May crop yields, along with a drop in humanitarian money, might lead to a return to crisis levels (PDF) in the region this June. Meanwhile, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has sparked a global food crisis, threatening aid-dependent communities worldwide. Nonetheless, many people have taken on leadership roles in a variety of resilience projects intending to shield the population against future hardship.

Raherinidamy Dominique Firmando teaches farmers from 25 homes in Sampona commune techniques that, when combined with high-quality seeds, have been found to make crops more tolerant to the region's difficult conditions, which include not just minimal rain but also frequent sandstorms produced by deforestation.

They plant baby acacia trees in crescent-shaped ditches, which can absorb water, replenish soil moisture, and prevent soil erosion. "Even though it will take time for the trees to grow," she remarked, "I have hope that the famine will be resolved."

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