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Madagascar and Climate-Induced Famine

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, which is situated off the southeast coast of Africa. The country gained its independence from France in 1960. Since then it has experienced a lot of political instability, including coups, violent unrest and disputed elections. There was a huge political deadlock after the country underwent a coup in 2019 which led to international condemnation and economic sanctions. It remains one of the world’s poorest and is heavily dependent on foreign aid, despite being a country with abundant of natural resources and a tourism industry driven by the unique environment in the country, 

Madagascar is going through an induced famine which is concerning the world’s first climate change. Climate change is occurring due to the planet getting heated up by carbon emissions. The famine in the country is due to the extreme drought which started around four years back. Drought has led to agricultural losses going up to 60% in the most populated provinces. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), at least 30,000 people are in the extreme stage of food insecurity.  According to other reports by the United Nations (UN), more than 1.1 million people in the East African island country have been experiencing one or the other form of severe food insecurity and require urgent food and nutrition assistance. Word Food Programme (WFP) has stated that the Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) level in children under five in the country has risen to 16.5 per cent which is very alarming. The worst affected is the district of Ambovombe, where the rates of Global Acute Malnutrition has been 27 per cent that indicates a life-threatening for many children.  

Further, according to the data by the Global Carbon Project, Madagascar produces a little more than 0.01% of the world’s annual carbon dioxide emissions every year. Between 1933 and 2019, the country has produced less than 0.01% of all the carbon dioxide. One such effect of this carbon emission has been Madagascar’s drought which is the worst one in the last 40 years. The current drought’s impact is now being felt in larger towns in southern Madagascar too, with many children forced to beg on the streets for food. People have been dependent on eating locusts, wild leaves, mud and cactus fruits to sever through these harsh conditions. The United Nations (UN) has further reported and warned that these conditions will further escalate into a severe humanitarian crisis.

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