Unlike most of the past famines driven by war, inflation, violence, this is the first time in modern history where the famine is directly caused by climate change. Recently UN has announced that Madagascar is on the brink of experiencing the world’s first “climate change famine”. Thousands of people are already suffering from hunger and food insecurity. The drought which is worst in four decades has devastated insulated farming communities in the southern Madagascar. People are forced to eat locusts, wild leaves, mud and cactus fruit to survive.
According to UN more than 1.14 million people in the south of Indian Ocean country are food insecure due to the drought. Many food Experts have said that there is no single factor behind all this. While droughts are not new to Madagascar, the severity of the current drought has been heightened by extreme climate change. Humanitarian agencies say that the situation is exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic which has also interrupted the supply chains, increasing unemployment and limiting access to food markets.
According to an IPCC Report, Madagascar has observed an increase in aridity. Increased number of heatwaves and rising temperatures makes the drought worse. Africa is a sensitive continent when it comes to climate change which has a drastic impact on indigenous communities. The semi-arid conditions of the southern Madagascar combined with high levels of soil erosion and deforestation has transformed the arable land into a wasteland. Conditions are about to get worse as Madagascar is going to enter its annual “lean season”, a time of year when food availability is most scarce.
The southern Madagascar have contributed little to the carbon emission (about 0.01%) but yet it is witnessing the worst effects of climate change. The people here have done nothing to deserve this, they don’t burn fossil fuels and yet they are bearing the brunt of climate change. Many organizations like World Food Program (WFP) were called for funding to help these people to stop their suffering. This is very critical time for the people in the southern Madagascar.