An alarming situation is unfolding in southeast Madagascar, where teams with the international medical humanitarian organization MSF are seeing a rise in severe acute malnutrition in rural communities that were impacted by last year’s cyclones.
MSF is currently supporting 24 health facilities in hard-to-reach places in southeast Madagascar, as well as treating patients for malnutrition in five health centers in the Ikongo district of the Fitovinany region.
As of early January, 2,072 children under the age of five were being treated for severe acute malnutrition. Nearly half of these children were admitted to MSF nutritional programs. This number is expected to rise over the coming months due to a lack of food and the upcoming peak of the malaria season—a disease that can exacerbate malnutrition.
The climate emergency is affecting the community
The two consecutive cyclones that hit the southeast region of Madagascar nearly a year ago—Batsirai on February 5 and Emnati on February 22—destroyed harvests and left a trail of destruction.
Most people in the area survive off crops like cloves, coffee, vanilla, and bananas for both food and income. The cyclones affected almost the entire agricultural area in the southeastern Vatovavy, Fitovinany, Atsimo, and Atsinanana regions, including more than half of people’s food crops.