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The USAID has announced financial support worth US$7.5mn to treat malnutrition in Southern Madagascar and support farmers dealing with climatic catastrophes, such as sandstorms and droughts

169487The financial aid provided by USAID will benefit 10,000 people in southern Madagascar. (Image source: USAID)

The financial aid will benefit 100,000 people in southern Madagascar.

For the past eight years, a series of droughts have devastated Southern Madagascar, and this year people are struggling find enough food for daily consumption. The outlook for the current harvest is not optimistic for the farmers. 

As a remedy, the US government has committed to provide additional support, barely a month after announcing US$40mn in emergency aid for the south. The new financial aid also comes seven months after three new emergency and development programmes were announced in Southern Madagascar, worth US$100mn in total, for food, health, and agricultural assistance.

“Today, we’re announcing another US$7.5mn that will go towards feeding people, treating children and pregnant women with malnutrition, and trying to get farmers back on their feet,” said John Dunlop, mission director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

“Our projects will deliver food, drinking water, and health care to 46,000 people. We will provide treatment for 13,000 children with malnutrition. And 41,000 farmers will get seeds and other support, along with the hope that the next harvest season will be better,” he added.

The money will fund activities by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in the hard-hit Ampanihy region and Action Contre la Faim (ACF) in Atsimo Andrefana, Androy, and Anosy regions.

Projects funded by the US government are feeding 683,000 people, improving water access for 50,000 people, and treating malnutrition among 159,000 children and pregnant women. This assistance will continue until the end of September. 

From October 2021 to March 2022, USAID food assistance, funded by June’s US$40mn announcement, and the more recent assistance of US$7.5mn, will be delivered to 489,000 people, and prevent and treat malnutrition among 357,600 children, pregnant women, and new mothers.

The two new five-year development projects announced in December last year, designed to introduce long-term solutions to prevent acute food insecurity, among some of the most vulnerable people, have begun operations in the regions of Atsimo Andrefana, Androy, Vatovavy-Fitovinany, and Atsimo Atsinanana

“Unfortunately all the money we’ve dedicated to this emergency isn’t enough to feed and care for everyone who needs it. That is why we continue to see reports of people eating leaves or locusts,” John Dunlop, mission director for the USAID, said. “More needs to be done. Some donors have recently announced contributions. This is very welcomed, but even more help is necessary to meet the tremendous need that exists,” he added.

More than 1.1 million people are currently facing high levels of food insecurity, with the number constantly on the rise. At least 14,000 people are already at the point of famine, the upcoming harvests are projected to be very poor, and access to food will likely worsen in the coming year.

Last year, USAID assistance to Madagascar totaled US$133.5mn. That amount included US$74.5mn in activities for the health sector, where the US is the largest single-country donor, and US$48.5mn for food security. Since 2015, the US government, through USAID has been the leading provider of assistance to the south, committing more than US$236mn to alleviate hunger and provide long-term solutions to food insecurity.