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More than a Million People in Southern Madagascar are “Marching toward” Starvation – WFP

David Beasley told a small group of reporters about the conditions he saw during his trip last week to the East African island nation. He said people are barely finding enough to eat, and many are dying. The WFP chief described people subsisting on mud and cactus flowers and hundreds of emaciated children with ripples of sagging skin on their limbs. The country has suffered a series of successive droughts since 2014, leading to poor harvests. Last year, swarms of desert locusts swept through East Africa. Earlier this year two tropical storms appeared to bring some drought relief, but the rainfall, combined with warm temperatures, created ideal conditions for an infestation of fall armyworms, which destroy maize. Beasley said his agency needs $78.6 million to get 1.3 million people through the lean season, which will begin in September and run through March. And they need the money now because it takes 3 to 4 months to move food into southern Madagascar.