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Humanitarian assistance resumes but is insufficient to avert Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in the Grand South and Grand Southeast

  • Key Message Update
  • Madagascar
  • November 2023
Humanitarian assistance resumes but is insufficient to avert Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in the Grand South and Grand Southeast

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Most districts in the Grand South and several districts in the Grand Southeast are likely experiencing area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.  Poor and very poor households, who make up the majority of the population in southern Madagascar, have exhausted their stocks of roots and tubers. These households must purchase most of their food from the market amidst high and seasonally rising prices and must do so with below-average access to agricultural and self-employment incomes. Despite the resumption of humanitarian assistance, current levels of assistance are not sufficient to improve area-level outcomes until early 2024. By February 2024, significant humanitarian assistance is expected to lead to improvements to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in Amboasary Sud, Betioky, Befotaka, Ikongo, and Nosy Varika. While harvests are expected to be below-average because of below-average and erratic rainfall associated with the ongoing El Nino, many households will have improved access to own-produced crops and will likely experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes between April and May 2024. 
    • Agricultural labor opportunities have reached their seasonal peak as preparation for the main season is ongoing across the Grand South and the Grand Southeast. Off-season rice cultivation and cash crop cultivation are also ongoing in the Grand Southeast. Poor and very poor households engaging in preparation and sowing activities can earn additional income to pay for food purchases. Wages remain below normal due to the reduced hiring capacity of better-off households after years of successive weather shocks. Given high transportation costs exacerbated by seasonal deteriorations in road conditions, poor households cannot afford to have a member temporarily migrate to another zone of the country in search of more lucrative labor opportunities. In the Grand Southeast, consumption and sales of cash crops such as lychees, cloves, jackfruit, and breadfruit provide supplemental income and calories for households, however, cash crop production remains significantly below average due to damage from successive cyclone strikes within the last two years. 
    • Humanitarian assistance has resumed, but the current levels of assistance are not sufficient to mitigate Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. While an increase in the number of beneficiaries will be expected from January, the number of targeted beneficiaries is only sufficient to improve area-level acute food insecurity outcomes in Amboasary Sud, Betioky, Befotaka, Ikongo, and Nosy Varika. Many poor and very poor households in Ampanihy, Ambovombe, Tsihombe, Beloha, and Midongy-du-Sud districts are, therefore, expected to be unable to mitigate their widening consumption gaps as the lean season progresses. In addition to humanitarian food and cash distributions, distributions of seeds, vines, and other agricultural inputs began this month and are expected to continue through December. Around 170,000 beneficiaries are being targeted for these distributions. 
    • The ongoing strong El Niño is expected to cause below-average agricultural production in southern Madagascar during the 2023/24 season. Rainfall during October and November was below average in southern, southeastern, and western Madagascar. However, it is important to note that the start of season does not typically occur until early December in some areas of southern and western Madagascar. Close monitoring of rainfall totals and distribution will be required to assess the severity of adverse impacts on cropping conditions. Additionally, the number of cyclones is currently predicted to be below average for the whole country through January and below average in southern Madagascar through April due to the positive decaying Southern Indian Ocean Dipole (SIOD) event. Although the likelihood of a cyclone impact is reduced, the potential for catastrophic damage if an intense cyclone were to strike remains.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Madagascar Key Message Update November 2023: Humanitarian assistance resumes but is insufficient to avert Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in the Grand South and Grand Southeast, 2023.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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