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UN pleads for cash as one million people go hungry in Madagascar

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Southern Madagascar is experiencing its worst drought in four decades, with more than 1.14 million people in need of food supplies, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).

Of those, WFP say an estimated 14,000 people are already in catastrophic conditions, and this will double to 28,000 by October.

"We're facing the worst drought in over 40 year, and this is an area where people depend on their own agriculture; homegrown school meals, smallholder farmers, this is how they live down here but with drought back to back to back, people can't survive and so the government partnering with WFP and others we're doing the best we can but it's a terrible situation," said David Beasley, WFP Executive Director.

The Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) in children under five in Madagascar has almost doubled over the last four months, reaching an alarming 16.5 percent.

Amongst the worst affected is the district of Ambovombe where GAM rates of 27 percent indicate a life-threatening scenario for many children.

"The new admissions to the severe malnutrition health centers has skyrocketed since June, July 2020. It has gone up from around one thousand kids overall in the 10 most affected districts in the south to around 7000 in March, April 2021. So the trend is exponential," said Arduino Mangoni, deputy country director for WFP in Madagascar.

WFP says it needs US$78.6 million dollars to provide lifesaving food in the next lean season in order to stop a preventable tragedy from unfolding.

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