In Madagascar, the pandemic is exacerbating an already precarious situation. As of July 31st, over 10,000 COVID-19 cases were recorded in the country. This is a worrisome progression in a country where sanitation facilities are lacking and the testing capacity is limited. As early as March, many began to flee the capital city of Anatanarivo for their villages or agricultural areas due to fears related to the virus and a steep rise in the cost of food.
The social and economic consequences of the health crisis are palpable. In a country where it is estimated that 75% of the population live on less than $1.90 per day (World Bank, 2019) and the growth of 50% of children under the age of 5 is stunted, there are growing concerns of a social crisis triggered by food shortages.
In response to this deepening food insecurity, we are providing $35,000 from our COVID-19 Solidarity Fund to our partner the Social Pastoral Commission of the Diocese of Tsiroanomandidy to purchase, stock and sell rice for paddies. The project complements ongoing work with peasant groups in the isolated area of Melaky to mitigate food insecurity and build up a food aid fund that is managed by the peasants and whose purpose is to help ride out poor crops due to climate change or disease. The project will help support 1,600 people through the pandemic.