This Earth Day, we turn our eyes to Madagascar, where unprecedented drought has wreaked havoc for 37% of the country’s population for more than two years.
“We have nothing to eat because of the drought. We live in poverty,” says Tsiharatie, a mother of seven children. “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 stomach ache after two or three days, we do it again. We can get ill, but we don’t know what else to do.”
More than 1.5 million people are experiencing a food emergency, including 300,000 children at risk of malnutrition, according to Unicef.
In some regions, rainfall has decreased by 40-60% over the past 20 years, limiting farmers and herders’ abilities to work. Those who can produce crops often find their yields ravaged by locusts.
As climate change permanently alters the island nation, Action Against Hunger is working with local communities to supply the tools and knowledge for growing climate-resilient crops like carrots, eggplants, and Chinese cabbage.
“This project saved my life” shares Alfred Efahaken, a farmer working with Action Against Hunger.
For those unable to access unable to access community farming programs, Action Against Hunger has 25 mobile health and nutrition support teams that reach families that live far from health centers, providing life-saving support for malnourished children across nine districts.