Good morning. Thank you very much for being here today to discuss the on-going crisis in southern Madagascar. Today’s meeting will enable us to increase coordination among us, by bringing together the key technical and financial partners to discuss the situation, identify operational issues and gaps, consider options, and improve collaboration.
The plight of people in southern Madagascar has high-level attention within the U.S. Government. Since 2015, our government has provided more than $236 million to respond to the urgent needs of families in hunger and provide long-term solutions to food insecurity.
Continuing droughts have created a serious humanitarian crisis. Season after season crops have been failing, family safety nets have been weakening, and more and more people are pulled into dire circumstances. Food security and nutritional surveys, field assessments, and the May IPC update assessment all indicate that continued assistance is needed to curb food insecurity and acute malnutrition. I know we are all very concerned about the health and well-being of people in the south.
And we understand the challenge. According to the May IPC update, 1.14 million people are at IPC 3 or above, which means they need immediate emergency food assistance, and 13,918 people are in famine-like conditions (or IPC-5) in the Amboasary district. This already troubling situation is expected to deteriorate. By December 2021 over 1.3 million people are expected to need emergency assistance and 28,000 people are expected to be in famine-like conditions. The draft Appeal by the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance underscores the dire situation facing residents in the south.
However, despite our collective best efforts, the situation may get even worse. Humanitarian assistance remains scarce in several districts and there is a real danger that support to some communities may need to be decreased or cease altogether, as food resources and funding dry up.
It is therefore essential, now more than ever, that we, donors, host government, and implementing partners, understand and agree on current needs, potential pipeline interruptions, and a shared vision for maintaining assistance through the coming lean season. And that is why we are here today.
We will be hearing from folks in the field to gain a fuller understanding of the situation and potential gaps in service delivery. We will have the opportunity to formulate a collective response that the donor community and the Government of Madagascar can employ to mitigate potential dips in assistance.
The U.S. Government is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to provide support to the south, working with partners in Madagascar, Europe, DC, and elsewhere, to continue to raise the alarm and attract more resources.