It is the only place where climate change has caused 'famine-like conditions', resulting in acute malnutrition among many of its inhabitants.

Madagascar is the only place in the world where climate change, not conflict, has caused  “famine-like conditions," affecting the health of hundreds of thousands of people, according to the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

More than 1.14 million people in the island country located in East Africa need urgent food and nutrition assistance. 

After four years without rain, the level of hunger and food insecurity reached “catastrophic” levels.

The worst drought in four decades has devastated isolated communities whose lives heavily depend on farming in the southern part of the country as many families started to eat insects and locusts to survive.

According to the UN estimates, nearly 30,000 people are currently suffering from level five famine, which is the highest internationally recognised level of food insecurity. 

Furthermore, the number of people in critical conditions is expected to rise sharply as the country enters “lean season” before harvest as food stocks dwindle and poor families regularly skip meals.

"This is unprecedented. These people have done nothing to contribute to climate change. They don't burn fossil fuels… and yet they are bearing the brunt of climate change," said the UN World Food Programme's Shelley Thakral.

The WFP team witnessed how people eat locusts during their visit to the remote village of Fandiova, in Amboasary district.

"I clean the insects as best I can but there's almost no water," said Tamaria, a resident who is the mother of four children.

"My children and I have been eating this every day now for eight months because we have nothing else to eat and no rain to allow us to harvest what we have sown," she added.

On the other hand, another mother of three children said that: "Today we have absolutely nothing to eat except cactus leaves." 

"What can I say? Our life is all about looking for cactus leaves, again and again, to survive," she, who recently lost her husband from hunger, added.

“If we don't reverse this crisis, if we don't get food to the people in the south of Madagascar, families will starve and lives will be lost,” said Amer Daoudi, WFP's Senior Director of Operations.

Together with Madagascar, hunger is expected to rise in 23 global hotspots in the upcoming months with the highest alerts for “catastrophic” situations in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region, Yemen, South Sudan and northern Nigeria.

Source: TRT World