The U.S. Embassy in Madagascar, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing $8 million in additional emergency humanitarian assistance to help people suffering from the ongoing drought in the south of Madagascar. The funding will be used to provide food and nutritional supplements to people in the Androy, Atsimo Andrefana and Anosy regions, which have been the most deeply affected by the drought. The program will be carried out by the World Food Programme.
The funding was announced at a meeting between Prime Minister Mahafaly Olivier, U.S. Ambassador Robert Yamate, USAID Mission Director Susan Sawhill Riley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture David Lane and USAID Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator Dina Esposito. Ambassador Lane and Ms. Esposito are leading a group of international journalists who are in Madagascar to raise global awareness about the serious threats to food security due to climate change and the effects of El Niño. Rising temperatures and less predictable rainfall patterns have disrupted agricultural planting cycles, resulting in significant crop failures and a food shortage.
“Madagascar is one of many countries in Southern and Eastern Africa currently suffering from a prolonged drought,” said U.S. Ambassador Robert Yamate, announcing the new funding. “This is a serious food crisis and these funds will bring food to those people who need it the most.”
This assistance is the latest funding from the United States in support of drought relief efforts. This additional funding brings the U.S. contribution for emergency assistance in the south up to $15 million since mid-2014. In addition to food relief, USAID and its implementing partners have been providing nutritional supplements for malnourished children and pregnant and lactating mothers. We are also supplying farmers with seeds, farm supplies, tools and livestock, training for the care of the animals, and promoting the use of improved varieties of seeds better suited to dry conditions.
Insufficient rain is expected to lead to complete crop failures across most of the Androy region, and below-average crop production in other parts of the country. Food access is expected to remain limited through the June-September harvest period, leading to a more severe crisis in the peak of the 2017 lean season between January and March. To cope with the crisis, many families have been forced to sell livestock and household items for food and/or money, eat the seeds intended to be planted for future crops, or move out of the area.