As of October 2020, regions in eastern Madagascar and northern central highlands (Sofia, Betsiboka, Analamanga regions) received normal rainfall, while the remaining regions have yet to receive significant rainfall. Large production regions such as Vakinankaratra, Menabe, and the southern part of Melaky have not yet received sufficient rain for the development of seedlings for rainfed crops, particularly rice. For November 2020, normal to below-normal rains are forecast in SAVA, Sofia, Alaotra Mangoro, Analanjirofo, Atsinanana, Atsimo Andrefana, and Melaky regions. For others, normal to above normal rainfall is projected.
In southern Madagascar, which has experienced several consecutive seasons of poor rainfall, the start of the 2020-2021 rainy season has been mixed. As of mid-November, rainfall has been average or above average in most of Ampanihy but well below average in Androy. As rainfall begins in earnest in the coming weeks, the GFS two-week forecast suggests significantly below average rainfall across much of region. Should this forecast come to fruition, the early harvests in March will be negatively affected and lean season will extend until the beginning of April.
In October 2020, staple food prices were above the five-year average by 25 to 40 percent for cereals and by 50 to 100 percent for tubers due to below normal supply in monitored markets, except in Antananarivo and Toamasina where prices were near normal. Prices also increased compared to last year except in those two cities, by 20 to 35 percent for cereals and 110 to 225 percent for tubers. Prices slightly stabilized compared to the previous month, except in Amboasary where prices increased.
An October 2020 SMART survey conducted by the Nutrition Cluster in southern Madagascar confirmed an acceptable nutritional situation in Betioky and a serious situation in Amboasary. It is expected the serious GAM (WHZ) in Betoiky is driven lower food and water availability. The nutrition s with a GAM (WHZ) point estimate of 9.7 percent and a 95 percent of Confidence Interval between 4.5 and 10.6 percent, situation in Amboasary deteriorated compared to 2018 and 2019, particularly in the northern communes of the district. The nutritional situation in six other districts of southern Madagascar was in alert with GAM (WHZ) point estimates between 5.7 and 9.7 percent, with a deterioration as well in Bekily compared to 2018.
According to OCHA October 2020 reporting, 800 households in the district of Amboasary and 539 households in Ampanihy received food assistance from the government. WFP plans to distribute four months of assistance, which began at the end of October, to 500,000 persons in nine districts with general food distribution and cash transfer. The WFP distributions include emergency assistance in Amboasary in October and November for 70,000 persons. CRS distributed 7,206 MT of food in Beloha and Tsihombe in October.
Effects of drought in southern areas, subsequent crop losses and lower labor opportunities, maintain high needs in November. Large-scale food assistance is supporting many beneficiaries to minimally meet their food needs, driving Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes at the area-level in most of southern Madagascar. Nevertheless, some poor households are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4), even in the presence of food assistance. Assistance is likely to continue through February, though Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in March and April prior to the May harvest.