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Having worked in Madagascar since 2012 and witnessed these changes, Action contre la Faim wants to raise the alarm by amplifying the voices of the people affected.
Tamasoa, 28, is a community liaison officer at Action contre la Faim whose work consists of talking to populations and taking note of their needs in the face of their tough day-to-day situation.
‘At the moment, the community is suffering from hunger, caused by drought and a lack of drinking water. This has been the case for a long time, but it’s getting worse because of sandstorms. The community lives off agriculture. But if you look at the situation, there’s no production, so there’s little hope for the future. If the harvest is good this year and the next, then there’s hope, but that’s hard to imagine, given the current situation’.
This observation is confirmed by Rengimana, vice president of the fokontany (village) of Antanimainty and spokesperson for his community.
"The cases of malnutrition in this village are down to a lack of rain and food"
The situation is tough, because we have only had three days of rain since the start of 2020. Just three days. A lot of people live off agriculture, but they can’t grow anything at the moment. We don’t know what is causing this change’.
Vorisoa is a farmer and father of six. The climate situation has transformed his day-to-day life and is threatening his family’s resources. He is fearful about the future.
‘Everyone has always known about the climate of Androy, but in the last few years, it has become unbearable. Sandstorms are characteristic of the region’s climate, but they have got worse since 2016. Our soil can no longer grow crops, because of the sand. We don’t even have crops to start off the next season. So, we have no hope for next year, as the crops from this year are supposed to be used to start off the next year’s’.
When farmers can no longer produce, they cannot consume their crops or sell them to generate income. Without any income, they cannot buy food supplies. And so begins a vicious circle for families who are already vulnerable.
Aimé, a greengrocer and father of four, has seen his stall transform over the years.
‘Nobody has any money. The fruits aren’t fresh anymore; they rot on the stall. They have been there for 4 days, but that’s not unusual anymore. All I want is to be able to sell the goods I bring in the morning’.
In the face of extreme climate phenomena, the main populations affected are small-scale agricultural producers, as well as single women and their children. With limited access to resources and no social safety net, the consequences on their food security are stark, as Tsiharatie, stay-at-home mother of seven children, can confirm.
"We have nothing to eat because of the drought. We live in poverty."
‘ Today, we made dried tamarind. You crush the tamarind until it’s a sticky paste. Then you add ash and cook it. We’ll eat it this evening. It’s not healthy at all, but at least we have something warm in our bellies. If we don’t have stomachache after two or three days, we do it again. We can get ill, but we don’t know what else to do. We have no choice. We can’t borrow money or ask for a loan because we have nothing we can use to pay it back’.
In recent years, the gradual deterioration of natural resources combined with unpredictable rainfall and an increasing number of climate shocks have damaged the living conditions and livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations in southern Madagascar. The current situation points to a dark future for those already feeling the effects of climate change.
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