Why has climate change caused famine in Madagascar?

Madagascar, the island nation off the southeast coast of Africa, is currently facing its worst drought in 40 years. More than a million people are food insecure, with more than 400,000 people facing famine. That's according to the World Food Programme (WFP) who has put Madagascar in the world’s newest “highest alert” hunger hotspot list. 

WFP chief David Beasley compared the plight of the starving in Madagascar to a “horror film”, saying it was “enough to bring even the most hardened humanitarian to tears”.

While most modern-day famines are believed to be man-made, experts believe Madagascar's lack of rain that has led to crop failure is the direct result of climate change. Increasing global temperature has affected the monsoons that the country's agriculture depends on for survival. The WFP says they need $78.6 million in order to provide food aid to help Madagascar through the lean season which starts in October. 

Meanwhile, families are foraging for whatever they can find as they wait for aid to come.

In this episode of The Stream, we take a look at the famine in Madagascar and ask what can be done to prevent it from happening in other parts of the world. 

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madagascar, famine, climate change
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