The number of severely malnourished children is likely to “fourfold” since the previous assessment last October, including 110,000 in serious condition whose growth and development will suffer “irreversible damage,” the United Nations Children’s Fund said (UNICEFand the United Nations World Food ProgramWorld Food Program) He said in the joint statment.
“What is currently happening in southern Madagascar is very heartbreaking,” said WFP Representative Momini Ouedraogo. “We cannot turn our backs on these children whose lives are in danger.”
Four consecutive years of drought wiped out crops and cut access to food.
More than 1.14 million people are food insecure in southern Madagascar, the agencies said, and the number of people classified as living in stage five of “catastrophic” conditions could double to 28,000 by October.
With the approach of the lean season – the time of year when food stocks are low – the crisis is expected to “make significantly worse”.
“We need to redouble our efforts to stem this catastrophic rise in hungerBut we cannot do it without significant financing resources and acquisitions from partners,” emphasized Mr. Ouedraogo.
‘Urgent need’ for investment
With acute malnutrition rates reaching an alarming 27 per cent in the hardest-hit Ambovombi Androe region in the far south, urgent steps are needed to prevent further deterioration.
This crisis has been exacerbated by poor sanitation and sanitation and the lack of potable water.
“There is an urgent need to invest in preventing and treating child malnutrition to prevent the situation from becoming more serious,” said UNICEF Representative Michel Saint-Lotte.
Continued increases in the prices of staple foods combined with marked declines in markets threaten the health and well-being of young and old alike.
In addition to the constant risk of food insecurity COVID-19 Restrictions pose additional challenges by restricting people’s access to food, markets and jobs.
Since last year, the World Food Program and UNICEF have worked closely with the Government of Madagascar and its partners to tackle severe hunger in the south.
But As the crisis worsens, measures must be intensified.
As UN agencies work to strengthen their emergency nutrition response in the south, an integrated response is needed to address all of the drivers of malnutrition.
UN agencies said treatment must go hand in hand with robust prevention in multiple sectors and response in collaboration with all partners and national authorities.
“By providing families with access to safe water and treating malnourished children with therapeutic food, lives can be saved,” said Mr. St Lute, adding “but we have to act now.”