Wide swaths of Madagascar face catastrophic food insecurity following the one-two-three punch of cyclones in about a year, the AP reports. Cyclone Batsirai slammed the island in February 2022, followed two weeks later by Cyclone Emnati, and Cyclone Freddy in February of this year. Tropical Storm Ana also hit Madagascar in January 2022. Freddy badly damaged 60%-90% of agricultural areas in the southeast where more than a quarter of the population does not have enough food and is at risk of hunger. Mothers, unable to feed their children, are reportedly attempting to sell them in the desperate hope they will be able to be fed. Food insecurity is especially dire in remote, rural areas.
In a health center in Mananjary, Iavosoa, a single mother of two in her early 20s, told the AP, “If my daughter is in this state, it’s because we don’t have enough food where we live.” Soaravo, Iavosoa’s 10-month-old daughter, barely weighs 4.4 pounds. “I had dysentery for two months. I had almost no milk. I was exhausted,” Iavosoa said. “And then she (Soaravo) got sick, too. And then Cyclone Freddy came. (It) ravaged our village and completely destroyed our house.”
Food insecurity was a serious problem across multiple regions of the country already, “But with the repeated climate shocks of the past year, their resilience has been exceeded,” Brian Willett, head of mission in Madagascar for Doctors Without Borders, told the AP. “Today, 1 in 4 children is acutely malnourished. Without medical support, these children are at risk of dying.” (AP)