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Every Drought Need Not Be a Disaster by World Food Programme on Exposure
Story and photos by David Orr Three consecutive years of drought and failed harvests have left the south of Madagascar facing one of its worst crises of recent times. An estimated 1.2 million people – two out of three people in the area – are food insecure, not knowing where their next meal will come from, and the number of severely food-insecure people is expected to increase from November. With domestic food stocks dwindling fast, families are being forced into desperate measures such as begging and selling their clothes, kitchen utensils and even their land. Many are migrating in search of food and work, and four in ten families have already eaten their vital seed stocks, leaving nothing for the November-December planting season. The World Food Programme’s (WFP)’s Executive Director Ertharin Cousin visited the country in early October. “The situation is extremely worrying,” she said. “I met women who told me they had nothing to feed their babies except the fruit of the red cactus growing by the roadside.”