Coping with Climate Change in Southern Madagascar
Next month world leaders will gather in Egypt for the COP27 climate change summit. In southern Madagascar coping with drought has become a way of life.
Drought and a lack of water continue to plague many communities in southern Madagascar. In Ambondro, the land is marked by the holes that people have dug to fetch water.
Near Ambovombe, people rush to fill their water containers from puddles in the road after an infrequent rainfall.
The cold southern hemisphere winter doesn’t prevent the people from leaving their homes to gather water that is visibly dirty.
In the village of Maroalipoty, children must walk five kilometers to reach wells to get water, before going to school.
In Manambovo, further south, the river remains dry, and the population continues to dig in the soil to find water. The consumption of dirty water is one of the factors causing diarrhoea and acute malnutrition in children.
UNICEF and partners are intensifying emergency interventions such as delivering drinking water by truck. In the first half of 2022, more than 624,000 people received water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance.
In some areas, solar-powered water points have been installed to reduce the burden of collecting water, which often falls to women and children.
By providing access to clean water, communities are healthier and children less prone to potentially life-threatening illnesses.
Nearly 479,000 cases of acute malnutrition are forecast in the south and southeast between May 2022 and April 2023 according to the latest malnutrition survey.
While Madagascar remains a low emitter of carbon dioxide, practices such as the use of charcoal or bush fires continue to impact the environment.
As climate change continues to aggravate the droughts and cyclones that plague this region, UNICEF Madagascar is working to help communities become more resilient to the climate shocks that affect their lives.