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UN calls for international solidarity to boost support for drought-stricken Madagascar

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(Antananarivo, 18 November 2021): The Humanitarian Coordinator for Madagascar, Issa Sanogo, today called on the international community to urgently increase its support to people facing severe hunger in the Grand Sud of the country as the Government and humanitarian partners launched the revised Flash Appeal.

The devastating effects of the most acute drought in over 40 years, combined with sandstorms and pests, have made it nearly impossible for people in southern Madagascar to grow their own food for at least three years now, leaving more than 1.6 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

“When I visited the Grand Sud of Madagascar, I saw the human face of the global climate crisis”, said Mr. Sanogo.

“Women, children and families are eating cactus or locusts to survive this drought and more than half a million children are acutely malnourished. This is happening in a country and a region that has contributed the least to climate change”.

The drought in the Grand Sud has left over 1.3 million people facing severe hunger, including nearly 30,000 people in life-threatening famine-like conditions. The dire humanitarian situation is leading families to take their children out of school so that they can help with daily tasks, including finding food and water. Gender-based violence and child abuse have risen, and people are displacing from rural to urban areas in search of sustenance and services.

“I have met families that told me they had to sell all of their personal belongings, right up to their pots and pans, to buy small amounts of food that will not keep them going for long,” explained the Humanitarian Coordinator. “It is imperative that the world acts now to help these families.”

Humanitarian organizations in Madagascar have significantly expanded their operations in 2021, reaching over 900,000 people with life-saving assistance, in complement to the Government’s efforts under its National Response Plan for the crisis in the Grand Sud. However, with the peak of the lean season (January to April) fast approaching, it is critical that the response scales-up.

While donors have generously contributed nearly US$120 million out of the $231 million required under the revised Flash Appeal (which runs from January 2021 to May 2022), more is immediately required to enable humanitarian organizations to provide food, water, health services, and life-saving nutrition treatment for nearly 1.3 million people in the Grand Sud in the months ahead.

“The world cannot look away. People in Madagascar need our support now, and into the future. I call on the international community to show solidarity with the communities in the Grand Sud, who are bearing the brunt of the climate crisis, and to put forward the funding that is needed to both prevent a humanitarian catastrophe today, and enable people to become more resilient tomorrow,” concluded Mr. Sanogo.

The mission of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is to coordinate the global emergency response to save lives and protect people in humanitarian crises. We advocate for effective and principled humanitarian action by all, for all.

Note to editors:

  • Download the revised Flash Appeal here.
  • Find here high resolution photos.
  • The Madagascar Flash Appeal for the Grand Sud, first launched in January 2021, requires a total of US$231 million to provide assistance to over 1.31 million people—out of 1.6 million in need—until May 2022. Of this total, around $64.5 million will be required in the first months of 2022 alone.

For further information, please contact:
OCHA - Saviano Abreu, in Nairobi, +254 780 530 141,
UN Resident Coordinator Office - Zoe Rasoaniaina, in Antananarivo, +261 32 0746 669, OCHA press releases are available at or

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit