from MARIO RAJOMAZANDRY in Antananarivo, Madagascar
ANTANANARIVO, (CAJ News) – THE worst drought in 40 years and outbreak of locusts are causing mass hunger and misery for children in Madagascar.
Children are wasting away as families in the south teeter on the brink of starvation.
Save the Children warned that one in six children under five are now suffering from acute malnutrition, with numbers rising to one in four children in the six most affected districts.
Many families who used to depend on agriculture have now left their homes for nearby towns, putting pressure on already stretched resources.
“We are seeing many hungry, dead-eyed young children, scrounging for a scrap to eat. How can the world look away?” Save the Children’s Country Director for Kenya & Madagascar, Yvonne Arunga, asked.
She said this is a forgotten and much underfunded crisis, hitting children hardest.
“Not only are they missing the nutrients to develop properly, they are missing school due to hunger and the inability of their parents to pay for school fees.”
“Cash and food distributed is just enough to help people survive and stand on their feet, but barely enough to help them recover or consider alternative livelihoods.”
The crisis in Madagascar comes at a time when the world is facing its biggest hunger crisis of the 21st century, with an estimated 5,7 million children under five on the brink of starvation across the globe.
A further 13 million children under 18 are facing extreme food shortages, Save the Children said.
It has deployed a team to southern Madagascar to provide cash support to 1 600 households in Ambovombe, with an aim to support at least 30 000 people, including at least 18 000 children.
– CAJ News