Climate change and water shortage in Madagascar

Madagascar’s worst drought in 40 years has left more than a million people facing a year of desperate food shortages. The country is on the brink experiencing the world's first "climate change famine", according to the United Nations, which says tens of thousands of people are already suffering "catastrophic" levels of hunger and food insecurity after four years without rain. The drought - the worst in four decades - has devastated isolated farming communities in the south of the country, leaving families to scavenge for insects to survive.

With almost half the population of Madagascar still living without access to clean water, the government of Madagascar has been making plans to reach people with clean water and decent toilets, but local governments and businesses lack the power or funding to move forward. Meanwhile, climate change is making it harder to protect water resources than ever before.

24.2 million People do not have a decent toilet, estimated around nine in ten still have nowhere decent to go to the toilet. More than 6,500 children under five die a year from diarrhea caused by dirty water and poor toilet facilities.

Overall more than 58 percent of Madagascar’s people lack access to safe drinking water and nearly half of all households live without sanitation facilities. Water is a basic necessity for survival, wells are contaminated with bacteria and viruses, and those who drink that water are exposing themselves to diseases. Most have no alternative to drinking the contaminated water.

People including children, travel long distances to gather what little water possible from public tanks Antananarivo, the capital city. The southern part of the island nation is the most affected due to the drought and climate changes.

Story & images by Alexander Joe