AFRICA/MADAGASCAR - Severe drought forces the population to eat seeds

Friday, 17 June 2016 hunger  

Hery Zo Rakotondramanana

Bekily (Agenzia Fides) - Malagasy farmers are in a desperate situation due to the severe drought that is hitting seven districts in the southern part of Madagascar, where at least a million people lack enough food in the seven districts of Southern Madagascar, accounting for at least 80 percent of the rural population. To survive they resort to more extreme measures. According to information sent to Fides, thousands of children are living on wild cactus fruits in spite of the severe constipation that they cause. The population has also eaten all the corn seeds for the planting season.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says that an estimated 45,000 people in Bekily alone are affected, which is nearly half of the population. In other regions, including Amboassary, are experiencing a drought crisis and many poor households have resulted to selling small animals and their own clothes, as well as kitchenware, in desperate attempts to cope.
Thousands of households are living precarious lives in the regions of Androy, Anosy and Atsimo Andrefana in Southern Madagascar because they are unable to meet their basic food and non-food needs through September due to the current El Niño event, which has translated into a pronounced dry spell.
This is the driest rainy season in 35 years. It is expected that at least 80 percent of crops are expected to fail . According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, these adverse weather conditions have reduced crop production in other Southern African nations where an estimated 14 million people face hunger in countries including Southern Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi and South Africa. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 17/06/2016)