Amnesty urges immediate relief for famine-hit Madagascar

Helmine Monique Sija prepares a cactus plant called raketa, which she will boil to provide food for her 10-year-old daughter Tolie. The family live in the drought-stricken southeastern village of Atoby

Amnesty International on Wednesday urged Madagascar’s government and the rest of the world to step up relief efforts for the island nation’s drought-hit south.

More than a million people on Madagascar’s parched southern tip are on the brink of famine and some are already dying, the rights watchdog said.

The months-long drought, stoked by climate change, is the worst in four decades, it said in a report released ahead of the UN’s climate conference in Glasgow.

Amnesty called on rich nations to provide humanitarian aid and offer financial and technical support to help Madagascar adapt to climate change.

“The international community must immediately provide the people in Madagascar affected by the drought with increased humanitarian relief and additional funding for the losses and damages suffered,” said Agnes Callamard, Amnesty’s secretary general.

The drought afflicts a region where more than 90 percent of the population live in poverty, leaving many with little choice but to migrate.

“It is a grave injustice that impacts of climate change are felt by people in developing countries the most considering that they have contributed the least to the climate crisis,” Amnesty said.

The United Nations has repeatedly blamed climate change for the drought, which has forced people to boil weeds and cactus to survive.


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