In the Grand Sud of Madagascar, three consecutive droughts, compounded by COVID-19, have left at least 1.27 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the Grand Sud from January to May 2021, based on a multi-sectoral needs analysis carried out by humanitarian partners, in support of the Government-led response, in November 2020. The Water Requirements Satisfaction Index (WRSI) scores were 65 per cent below normal while cumulative rainfall for the period from 1 October 2019 to 1 June 2020 averaged 19 per cent below normal; this deficit reached up to 34 per cent in several locations . According to a review conducted by WFP, this year's drought is the most severe in the past 10 years.
This includes more than 1.1 million people—more than 1 in every 3 people in the region—who are projected to face severe food insecurity during the 2021 lean season (January to April), according to the latest IPC analysis. During this period, two districts will be in Emergency phase (IPC Phase 4)—Amboasary and Bekily—and six districts will be in Crisis phase (IPC Phase 3). In comparison with previous years, the has been a significant increase in the number of people in phases 3 and 4, especially for the Anosy region (where the Amboasary district is located), and to a lesser extent for the Androy region. In some areas, families are surviving by eating clay mixed with tamarind leaves, according to WFP.
The regions of the Grand Sud of Madagascar have suffered significant cereal losses due to climatic factors, coupled with damage caused by armyworms to maize production, according to the results of the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) report . The average infestation rate is 53 per cent and yield losses on corn crops are estimated at 47 per cent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, situation analysis before COVID-194 . The annual crop and food insecurity assessment conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, jointly with FAO and WFP, is being finalized following the COVID-19 constraints.