Starving in silence in Madagascar


It's one of the most overlooked disasters in the world. In Madagascar, 1.5 million people are suffering from a serious food crisis and need emergency assistance. Several dozen people have already died of hunger. An unprecedented drought, which hit the south of the island in recent years and destroyed almost all of the crops, is mostly to blame. As the UN World Food Programme asks for emergency aid of €62.45 million, our correspondent Gaëlle Borgia travelled to Anosy, the region hardest hit by the crisis.


For the past six months in Madagascar, men, women, the elderly and children have been dying of hunger. However, although the World Food Programme (WFP) has requested €62.45 million from donor countries, the Malagasy government remains largely indifferent to the crisis and has refused to declare a state of emergency.

The region of Anosy, in the far south of Madagascar, has been particularly hard hit by the unprecedented drought. It is also one of the most remote and dangerous areas of the island.

The district of Amboasary Atsimo, from where we reported, is often the scene of attacks from "dahalo" – rural bandits who carry out raids in villages and kill.

People left to die

The villages where we filmed felt like places where people are left to die, where the few inhabitants still left wait for food aid while hiding from the dahalo.

The situation is so dire that we transported large quantities of rice, oil and salt for the inhabitants of the villages.

The children's smiles

Most of the children, teenagers and elderly people we met only had skin left on their bones and seemed numb, stunned by hunger. 

Surrounded by skeletal, silent figures, we felt as if we were in villages of walking zombies.

But as soon as the WFP distributed the famous little bags of fortified flour called Plumpy'Doz, the children's smiles and energy immediately returned. The sudden change was striking. "Plumpy, Plumpy," they cried out with joy.

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