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Madagascar suffers from catastrophic hunger

Bertin Sambetana eats clay mixed with tamarind at his home in the remote village of Fenoaivo, Madagascar.

Bertin Sambetana eats clay mixed with tamarind at his home in the remote village of Fenoaivo, Madagascar.
Photo: Laetitia Bezain (AP)

Many of the climate disasters that have been most visible this summer are rapid and devastating: fires and floods who hit fast and left trail of destruction in their footsteps. But slow famine in Madagascar caused by drought can foresee other crises awaiting our climatic future.

Parts of Madagascar are currently suffering from the worst drought the country has experienced in 40 years. More than 1 million people are currently facing hunger, and hundreds of thousands of people may face the potential threat of hunger due to a drought caused by climate change, which, according to experts, the residents themselves did not pay much attention to.

The scenes from the particularly hard-hit regions in the south of the country, known as the Grand Court, are terrifying. Inhabitants rip off thorns from a cactusdigging up the roots, and gather insects to eat and Al Jazeera reports that humanitarian workers began to call some villages “zombie villages” with only a few residents left barely surviving.

“We have planted, but there was no rain, ”said Al Jazeera, a woman identified only as Sinazi, who lives in Mahali with her eight children. “Everything that is planted dies. We are out of stock. We sold some of what we had, the rest were stolen by bandits. “

United Nations says that nearly 14,000 people in Hunger level 5, the most serious level –classified as a “humanitarian catastrophe” in which the region experiences high levels of malnutrition and mortality while nearly 400,000 people live in tier 4 conditions. (For some context LLevel 5 is when “people have absolutely nothing to eat,” World Food Program Madagascar spokesman Mumini Ouedraogo told Al Jazeera.) While the drought has been dragging on for years, conditions are getting more severe this summer. I amin the spring, just over 280,000 people have faced Tier 4 conditions, and none of the population has ever been at Level 5. And the trend is only growing: The World Food Program says the number of people with Tier 5 conditions could double by October if nothing happens made.

These devastating conditions are associated with nearly six years of drought, which made agriculture virtually impossible. Since 2015, Madagascar has had a constant rainy season when rainfall was below average… Food insecurity in various parts of Africa is exacerbated by conflicts: Sudan, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Nigeria is all facing hunger, exacerbated by wars, battles, and combating drought and other climatic influences. But the situation in Madagascar is unique in that there are currently no major conflicts that exacerbate hunger.

V newsletter widely reported in several media, the World Food Program states that Madagascar “today is the only place in the world where” hunger conditions “were caused by climate, not conflict.”

But the automatic link between any famine – or drought, for that matter – and climate change deserves a little more attention.

V Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reportreleased in early August, says it is “likely that climate change will lead to drier conditions in Madagascar in the future, but there is no consensus on whether this is happening now,” Weston Anderson, Associate Research Fellow at the University of Maryland and NASA Earth Sciences Division. said by email. Andersen explained that linking drought (and the associated food crisis) specifically to climate change is challenging and requires clear models that ascertain “whether we can attribute this drought to climate change or whether it was the result of natural variability.”

Chris Funk, Director of the Climate Hazard Center (CHC) University of California, Santa Barbara, studied atmospheric data for southern Madagascar. and says that it shows an increase in temperature and an increase in steam pressure. “I definitely believe that climate change is exacerbating the rainfall deficit in this area,” he said.

However, Funk also warned that he was unable to find much literature or scientific research on the link between the current drought in Madagascar and climate change. (This may explain the lack of clarity on the IPCC issue.) “That doesn’t mean it isn’t there,” Funk said.

“To be honest, I don’t like this topic like ‘climate change caused a drought,’” continued Funk. “Overall, I think that climate scientists and climate scientists, I have never heard anyone actually mention anything in that sense. It’s much more natural to talk about climate change worst… “

And on this last point, the data is pretty clear. The average annual temperature in Madagascar is expected to increase between 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.5 degrees Celsius) and 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit (3.5 degrees Celsius) by the end of the century. According to the IPCC report, climate change will spur heat waves and droughts; extreme droughts, which we have seen once a decade, can occur two to three times more often if warming reaches 2 degrees Celsius. This means that disasters like those we see in Madagascar could become even more serious. too common in different parts of the world as climate change makes conditions more favorable for drought.

“There is clear evidence that climate change is exacerbating droughts in drylands.we see it all over the western United States.WITH. right now, ”Funk said.

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