While Madagascar is hard hit by drought, it is also the most cyclone-hit country in Africa. Image: Heinonlein. Source: Wikimedia Commons.


Humanitarian crises in Madagascar are constantly going unnoticed

Madagascar has repeatedly been included in the CARE organization's list of the ten least described humanitarian crises. This is despite the fact that the country has suffered from annual drought and its population from malnutrition and starvation. In the southern part of the country, a humanitarian catastrophe is currently taking place, the cause of which has been debated.

In the international media reporting, not much is written about Madagascar. This is shown by the international aid organization CARE's list of this year's least described humanitarian crises, where crises that have affected at least one million people have been ranked according to the number of digital news articles mentioning the crisis, explains Blankspot. 2021 was the third year in a row that Madagascar placed on the list.

The corona pandemic, political instability and natural disasters in the form of both floods and droughts are some of the causes of the country's crises in recent years.

Southern part of the country hard hit

At present, the southern part of Madagascar, the Androy region, is the hardest hit. There is an extreme drought that has led to 1.3 million people having difficulty finding food for the day and 28 people living on the brink of starvation, according to the BBC. In the autumn rretrieved Al Jazeera that people were forced to eat leaves, soil and cactus fruits to survive when the crops dried up.

The country, which is also the world's fourth largest island, is the only place in the world where famine-like conditions are not directly linked to a conflict situation, according to Svenska Dagbladet.

Climate change identified as the cause

What, then, is the cause of the humanitarian crisis going on in the country? In connection with the climate summit in Glasgow in the autumn of 2021 emphasized both WFP and Amnesty climate change as the cause of the famine.

"It is a huge injustice that those most affected by climate change are those in developing countries who have contributed the least to climate change," Amnesty said. according to Al Jazeera.

WFP described Madagascar as one of the first examples of climate change leading to famine-like conditionsnden, when the rains become fewer and higher temperatures. 

Research study disproves theory

However, several news outlets in early December reported a research study as disprovede theory that climate change is the biggest reason for food shortages. Studies, developed by the World Weather Attribution (WWA) research network, shows that although the rain shortage between 2019 and 2021 has been unusually severe, it was still within the framework of natural variations in the island's climate.

This is in line with a UN report which stated that global warming will only lead to a drought in Madagascar at two degrees Celsius. according to Svenska Dagbladet.

WWA's study emphasizes instead that the main causes to the current humanitarian crisis In southern Madagascar, there is widespread poverty, rain-dependent agriculture, poor infrastructure and the severe economic consequences of the corona pandemic - for example, lost jobs and income.

Politics and history come into play

At the same time, politics and history have played a role in Madagascar's development. The country's president Andry Rajoelina has been criticized for not doing enough to prevent food shortages, mean BBC, and the deficient infrastructure in the Androy region is a remnant of the time when Madagascar was a French colony.

- The French did not care to develop the Andry region because the population there resisted them, fexplains the university teacher Dr Tsimihole Tovondrafale for the BBC.

But despite the results of WWA's study, the researchers behind the study emphasize that climate change could be a serious threat to Madagascar's population in the future.

- If improvements in unemployment, infrastructure and dependence on agriculture do not take place, small changes in the climate can have devastating consequences, explains one of the researchers.

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