Southern Madagascar | Response overview (October 2021)

Southern Madagascar | Response overview (October 2021)
Oct 2021

An exceptionally prolonged drought in southern Madagascar most likely due to the effects of climate change compounded by multiple other shocks has led to a hunger crisis in the region. The long lean season and sandstorms have resulted in the second consecutive year of poor harvests, significantly affecting households’ livelihoods and food security. The humanitarian situation has been exacerbated by the adverse effects of COVID‑19 and related containment measures, which disrupted market supply chains. Price increases of basic foodstuffs were also recorded, leaving many families who have depleted their reserves unable to buy food in the market. Insecurity in parts of the deep south, as well as the resurgence of various crop and animal pests and diseases – a new outbreak of Rift Valley fever and a looming threat of locusts – have also led to worrying levels of food insecurity and malnutrition in the region. Vulnerable households struggle to access food and income. Many are forced to adopt negative coping mechanisms such as selling productive assets and reducing the quantity, frequency and quality of meals, with some communities resorting to consuming almost exclusively wild foods. Finally, if the Malagasy migratory locust outbreak is not contained, it would result in a major upsurge, threatening larger areas across the country. Unpredictable consequences would further worsen the already alarming situation in the Grand Sud, where people are experiencing high levels of food insecurity. Curbing the spread of the locusts and scaling up livelihoods assistance to provide affected households with essential inputs during the main agricultural season is key to allow them to quickly produce food, generate income and strengthen their resilience.