It is one of the most overlooked disasters in the world. In Madagascar, 1.5 million people are suffering from a serious food crisis and are in need of emergency aid. Several dozen people have already died of hunger. An unprecedented drought, which hit the south of the island in recent years, wiping out almost all crops, is largely to blame. As the UN World Food Program calls for EUR 62.45 million emergency aid, our correspondent Gaëlle Borgia traveled to Anosy, the region most affected by the crisis.
In Madagascar, men, women, the elderly and children have been starving for the past six months. Although the World Food Program (WFP) has requested € 62.45 million from donor countries, the Madagascar government remains largely indifferent to the crisis and refuses to declare a state of emergency.
The Anosy region, in the far south of Madagascar, has been particularly hard hit by the unprecedented drought. It is also one of the island’s most remote and dangerous areas.
The district of Amboasary Atsimo, from which we reported, is often the scene of attacks by “dahalo” – rural bandits who raid and kill villages.
People have gone to die
The villages where we filmed felt like places where people are left to die, where the few inhabitants are still waiting for food aid while hiding from the dahalo.
The situation is so dire that we have transported large quantities of rice, oil and salt for the inhabitants of the villages.
The children are smiling
Most of the children, teens, and elderly we met had only skin on their bones and appeared numb, numb from hunger.
Surrounded by skeletal, silent figures, we felt like we were in villages with walking zombies.
But as soon as the WFP handed out the famous bags of enriched flour called Plumpy’Doz, the smiles and energy of the children immediately returned. The sudden change was striking. “Plumpy, Plumpy,” they shouted for joy.