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Madagascar has been devastated by an economic crisis, droughts, and sandstorms, which have rendered land unusable for agriculture.
The World Food Program (WFP) Director of Operations Amer Daoudi on Friday said villagers are eating crickets, cacti, or leaves to survive one of the biggest food crises in the history of this African country.
"We have witnessed heart-breaking scenes of severely malnourished children and starving families. We need the money and resources now to help the people of Madagascar," Daoudi said, adding that at least 1.35 million citizens need urgent food assistance.
Acute malnutrition has reached 16 percent of the population, although in some districts almost 27 percent of the people suffer from it.
In the last five years, Madagascar has been devastated by an economic crisis and climatic disasters such as droughts. The country has even experienced unexpected sandstorms, which have rendered land unusable for agriculture and livestock farming.
“The situation is extremely, extremely, worrisome, scary. They are on the periphery of famine and these are images that I haven’t seen for quite some time across the globe.” @WFP senior representative warns about a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in southern #Madagascar ����. pic.twitter.com/GcDzty83Jq
While the WFP tried to reduce the impact of the local food crisis, it has only been able to provide 700,000 people with half rations, which may be enough to survive for a while but not enough to alleviate chronic suffering.
To meet the needs of the coming months, the multilateral institution needs some US$75 million immediately as it only has funds for temporary food aid until July.
Daoudi also noted that entire villages are moving to other urban centers in search of better survival conditions. Due to climatic conditions and malnutrition, however, many people would not manage to walk even 40 kilometers.
"When mothers start selling their cooking utensils to get some food, it is a sign that we are at a point where there is no turning back," the WFP official warned, stressing that "we are heading for a disaster and we must stop it."
10,000 people killed, 53,000 people wounded, famine, medicine shortages, the world’s worst humanitarian aid crisis and a population traumatized by violence, is the result of 3 years of war against #Yemen. pic.twitter.com/kIeoEdrorY