UN says 1.5m face hunger in Madagascar

Some 1.5 million people in southern Madagascar are facing hunger because of a severe drought, the UN says.

Production of staple foods has declined sharply, resulting in higher food prices. Residents are said to be eating seeds and selling animals to cope.

More than half of those affected are acutely food insecure, the UN adds, meaning that they need urgent humanitarian assistance.

The situation has been made worse by the El Nino weather phenomenon.

The lack of sufficient rains in the southern region of Androy alone resulted in an 80% decline in maize production this year compared with the already reduced levels of 2015, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a report.

The drought also affected the production of another staple food, cassava, in Androy and also in Atsimo-Andrefana, where production dropped by approximately half, the agency added.