Madagascar Famine: Fast Facts

Madagascar is facing the world’s first famine caused solely by climate change. Here’s what you need to know about the Madagascar famine and how you can help today.


1. More than 1.1 million people in Madagascar are experiencing some form of severe food insecurity.

The United Nations estimates that at least 1.1 million people need urgent food and nutrition assistance. Children are most affected, with at least half a million kids under the age of five expected to be acutely malnourished by next spring.

“These are the children who are at risk of dying if not supported,” warned Arduino Mangoni, a UN director in Madagascar.

Some have been eating cactus leaves and locusts to stay alive.
Source: The United Nations + ABC News

2. At least 30,000 people in Madagascar are experiencing life-threatening conditions.

They’re in the center of a phase five famine, the highest level on the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification’s food security scale. Starvation, death, extreme poverty, and acute malnutrition are all present at this level. For children under the age of five, this could cause irreversible damage to their growth.
Source: Al Jazeera + Integrated Food Security Phase Classification

3. Southern Madagascar is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years.

A four-year drought, excessive heat, COVID-19, and unexpected sandstorms have wreaked havoc on the nation’s farming production. Crops wilted, and harvest fell well below average. In some high-density areas, agricultural losses were as high as 60%. And given that employment in agriculture in Madagascar was reported at about 80%, the crop losses compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it even more difficult for families to purchase food.
Source: International Trade Centre

Help end famine in Madagascar by donating to GlobalGiving’s Madagascar Famine Relief Fund.


4. A shrinking forest is adding fuel to the fire.

GlobalGiving partners in Madagascar are witnesses to the destruction. “On a global level, Madagascar is often in the news when it comes to deforestation,” the team at Zahana shared in a GlobalGiving report. On the local level, “forests disappear quietly and gradually, one tree here, one tree there, fueled by the need for firewood for cooking and feeding families and building materials,” they added. In an effort to revitalize the life-sustaining forests filled with animals and plants of Madagascar’s past, Zahana is mobilizing a community-wide reforestation program.
Source: Zahana

5. Madagascar produces nearly zero global carbon emissions—yet is experiencing some of the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

Despite having virtually no contribution to the global climate crisis, Madagascar is being stuck with one of its most heartbreaking consequences. Communities in Madagascar need and deserve global support right now. Organizations like SEED Madagascar and Halt Poverty are working tirelessly to provide a reliable source of food for people who are running out of options.
Source: ABC News

6. The skyrocketing cost of food and water is making it even harder for families to purchase food.

Like most islands, Madagascar experiences inflated costs for food and water because it depends on imports. COVID-19 lockdown measures and losses from the tourism industry shutdown have contributed to rising prices, while armed bandits stealing livestock, international food aid, and other supplies adds to the scarcity. Long-running socio-economic and political crises complicate relief efforts. To help farmers in remote villages struggling to access money for seeds, livestock, and tools, organizations like Zahana provide grants to community groups.
Source: UN News + Observer Research Foundation

7. Cash is the best way to help people experiencing a famine.

Why? Survivors’ needs will vary greatly. A cash donation gives people on the front lines the flexibility to get help where it’s needed most. You can learn more about how to help people affected by famine in this infographic about the importance of cash donations to vetted, community-led organizations.

8. GlobalGiving partners are already hard at work in Madagascar.

We introduced you to a few partners in Madagascar in this article, including SEED Madagascar, Halt Poverty, and Zahana. Your gift to our Madagascar Famine Relief Fund will go to our vetted nonprofit partners who understand needs in Madagascar and will be there for the long haul to help Madagascar through this dangerous, climate-change-induced famine.

Help end famine in Madagascar by donating to GlobalGiving’s Madagascar Famine Relief Fund.


Featured Photo: Malagasy children eat a meal at the Avotse feeding program that benefits malnourished children with hot meals in Maropia Nord village in the region of Anosy, southern Madagascar September 30, 2021 by Joel Kouam for Reuters

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