Madagascar Famine

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Madagascar Famine


Please act now to help vulnerable families in southern Madagascar, especially those with disabilities, who are facing life-threatening starvation.


  • Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (SAF)
  • Fiangonan’i Jesoa Kristy eto Madagasikara (FJKM)
  • National Office for Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC)
  • Platforme Des Federations Des Personnes Hadicapees (PFPH)


Right now, over 1,000,000 people are on the verge of starvation in southern Madagascar, off the southeast coast of Africa. People have resorted to eating insects, leaves and cactus plants to survive.

Southern Madagascar has had back-to-back droughts since November 2020, leaving the region’s people facing acute hunger. And this largely unreported crisis is getting worse every day!

The number of children who are severely malnourished has doubled in some areas over the last four months. According to the UN’s World Food Programme, as the scale of the crisis grows, the situation will rapidly deteriorate further in the coming months into a famine. 

cbm-funded partners are getting ready to provide urgent humanitarian relief to the most vulnerable children and families, especially those with disabilities. But as the scale of the crisis grows, your help is urgently needed to reach more children and adults facing life-threatening starvation.

“The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” – Proverbs 22:9

Most people living in the southern part of Madagascar rely on their harvest for food and income. But, because of the lack of rain and drought, people cannot cultivate their crops to provide for their families or to sell at the market. Families are now facing major food shortages that threaten their lives and well-being. This is especially true for children, women, and people with disabilities, who are most affected in times of crisis.

Families are unable to meet their daily food needs, and are facing acute malnutrition. 

Most families rely on foraging for wild foods and leaves, which are difficult to eat and can be dangerous for children and pregnant women. There are reports of desperately hungry people eating termites and mixing clay with tamarind, something that is unheard of in New Zealand.

Sadly, it appears that this food crisis is not going to go away anytime soon, with the UN along with other agencies reporting that the south of the island will produce less than half its usual harvest in the coming months because of low rains, prolonging the hunger crisis.

This is a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis. People are in desperate need of urgent support from generous people like you.

Please respond to this growing humanitarian crisis by sending your generous gift to help feed vulnerable people today. Thank you.


Your generous gift today will help provide much needed food and other basic items to individuals and households (including family members living with a disability), who are most at risk in the Anosy region in the south of Madagascar.

Your gift will also help households of those with disabilities to strengthen their livelihood and ensure that people living with all forms of disabilities, and their representative bodies are included in the planning, design, implementation and monitoring of disaster risk assessment.


The world’s fourth largest island, Madagascar boasts a unique ecosystem, with many species of plants and animals found nowhere else. However, the country has faced challenges in its socio-economic development and in recent decades it has experienced a stagnation in per capita income and a rise in people living in poverty. Political instability undermines government institutional capacity, economic growth and development efforts. It also reduces people’s access to basic services and their ability to prevent and recover from frequent shocks such as climate-related disasters.

Madagascar is ranked 161st out of 189 according to the Human Development Index. Affecting almost half of all children under the age of 5 – the world’s tenth highest rate – chronic malnutrition is considered a major public health concern in Madagascar.

Farming, fishing and forestry form the backbone of the Malagasy economy. Agriculture is dominated by rain-fed small-scale subsistence farming: seven out of 10 smallholder farmers own no more than 1.2 hectares of land. Rice is the main staple food and the island’s main crop, but not enough is produced to satisfy the national demand. Agricultural production remains low due to factors such as: limited access to agricultural productive assets, credit and markets; gender inequality limiting women and girls’ access to land; poor post-harvest techniques; inadequate natural resources management; and lack of adequate access to markets for smallholder farmers.

Madagascar is among the ten countries most vulnerable to disasters and is considered to be the most cyclone-exposed country in Africa. A quarter of the population lives in areas highly prone to cyclones, floods or drought. Climate change and environmental degradation exacerbate these risks while the increasing fragility of the ecosystem intensifies vulnerability to shocks and food insecurity. Deforestation has become a major concern: 90% of Madagascar’s original rainforests have been lost to logging, charcoal-making and slash-and-burn agriculture.

The Southern regions are the less populated in Madagascar but have the highest prevalence of poverty and malnutrition. The area is also insecure with increased criminal activities. Climate hazards with changing rain patterns, drought and heat waves exacerbates the living situation. The Grand Sud (south) region of Madagascar has suffered several consecutive years of inadequate rainfall; as a result it is estimated that an average of 750,000 people per year are severely food insecure. Water infrastructures are missing, and no sustainable agricultural program has been developed in the past.

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Why should a child with disabilities, like Liasoa, have to eat locusts to survive?

Please will you prayerfully consider sending a generous gift to help vulnerable children and families suffering from the ongoing effects of the famine crisis in Madagascar…

“...Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” – Matthew 25:40

In July last year we shared our deep concern regarding the ongoing famine crisis in Madagascar.

Generous cbm supporters like you responded to this food crisis, and have helped cbm-funded partners to reach vulnerable children and families on the verge of starvation.

While many have been helped, sadly for many children and their families in Madagascar, the situation is worsening day by day.

This largely unseen famine crisis continues to grow, and with it an estimated 1.3 million people are now affected!

Please send your life-protecting gift today to help protect vulnerable children and their families who are most at risk in this growing food crisis!

We know how much you care for precious children and adults living with disability in poverty, so we are sure you are as upset as us that they are in such danger now.

People with disabilities are too often overlooked in everyday life, and miss out even more during times of crisis. Food distributions may be set up in places people living with disabilities cannot reach.

Disability may mean people don’t hear or know where and how they can get help.

Children like Liasoa are being left behind.

That’s why your ongoing kindness now, to help children like Liasoa and her Grandma is critical.

Only cbm has a special focus on families where there is disability – giving the extra care and support to make sure they are safe. The hard working cbm team in Madagascar has identified a vulnerable group of 1,500 households, including those living with disabilities, at high risk now.

Please send your life-protecting gift today to help protect the lives of those most at risk in this growing food crisis!

Your help is urgent because crops have failed two years running. Food supplies have run out – or are so expensive that people living in poverty cannot afford them. People are eating locusts, wild leaves and raw cactus plants just to survive.

Those most in danger are children living with disabilities, like Liasoa, just nine-years-old.

Liasoa was born with physical and intellectual disabilities. Her parents abandoned her.

Only Liasoa’s Grandma had the courage and love to take in this little girl and support her to survive.

Your courage and love are needed now as we work together to help those most in danger from the famine crisis in Madagascar.

My heart breaks when I think of the suffering of children like Liasoa. But it soars when I think of the transformative power of your faithful support.

As Jesus tells us – in Matthew 25:35-40 – when we feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, and nurse people who are sick, we are also showing Him our faith through our acts.

Please reach out and help people like Liasoa and her Grandma by sending an urgent gift in the next 30 days!

You can imagine how hard life must be for Grandma.

She must do everything for Liasoa. Feed her a teaspoon at a time. Take her to the toilet. Carry her on her back as she fetches water or looks for firewood.

Comfort her when there is no food:

“When we have nothing to eat, I ask my neighbours to give us some in a plate.”

With the little money she earns, she buys rice. She thins it into a watery porridge to make it last. It fills the tummy for a moment, but there is no goodness. No nutrition.

This is when hunger attacks children.

It eats away at Liasoa from the inside. Any fat reserves are long gone, so hunger devours the muscles, making the child – already fragile with disability – even weaker.

The next target hunger stalks are the vital organs. Liver. Kidneys. The brain.

The child is so weak, they don’t even have the strength to cry. The body starts to shut down.

The child closes their eyes in weariness…
...and my great fear is they may never open them again.

This is what famine is doing to children living with disabilities in Madagascar right now. It’s why your generous gift is so important.

Your generosity will help support:

Food – “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.” – Matthew 25:35. Your gift will provide starving children like Liasoa with life-saving food supplies before it’s too late.

Water – “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.” – Matthew 25:35. Your gift will save children from dehydration and death by providing them with a daily supply of safe, clean water.

Medicine – “I was sick and you looked after me.” – Matthew 25:36. Your gift will provide life-saving medical supplies and critical care to the most vulnerable people affected by the famine in Madagascar.

Please help protect vulnerable lives now – please give urgently in the next 30 days!

In a recent update from the cbm team on the frontlines of this food crisis, they reported success in getting aid through to where it was most needed.

They are very grateful for the support from people like you. They are tired, but determined.

They have said very strongly that more food, water and medicines are needed, and that there must be no delay.

Satry Ramaroson (pictured left) who leads the front-line cbm team in Madagascar says:

“The situation is getting worse, and we urgently need to do more to enable people living with disabilities to access food, water and medicines. If we do not, people living with disabilities will be left behind, and be more at risk from starvation.”

Your gift can help support families to get the food they desperately need, and help ensure people have access to clean, fresh drinking water every day.

Your gift is critical to help provide people living with disabilities access to ongoing medical care, including trauma counselling for any who are children.

Please will you prayerfully consider sending an urgent gift to help provide much needed food, water and medicine to vulnerable children like Liasoa and her Grandma.

The work is hard. The need is great. The challenges confronting. That’s why your prayers are precious, along with your generous gift.

The frontline cbm team face an even more challenging time, but from past support, from people like you, they are thankful for the loving kindness and compassion of the people of New Zealand.

No child should have to eat locusts to survive – thank you for prayerfully considering sending one of your life-protecting gifts to help vulnerable children like Liasoa and her Grandma.

Every day of hunger makes a child weaker. Every day increases the threat of the body shutting down, especially for people living with a disability.

Please send your urgent gift in the next 30 days to help vulnerable children like Liasoa and her Grandma. Thank you!