Madagascar is the fourth biggest island in the world, famous for its beautiful beaches, thousands of plants and exotic animals that exist nowhere else on earth, and for being the world’s leading producer of vanilla. Many are also familiar with Madagascar through the popular DreamWorks animation movies and TV shows. But few know about this former French colony’s humanitarian crisis.

Madagascar is one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 155th out of 187 in the 2014 Human Development Index (HDI). Seventy-two percent of the population lives below the national poverty line. Nearly 1.9 million people are do not have enough to eat and almost half of children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition, the fourth highest rate in the world. To cope with the shortages, it is reported that many families are resorting to selling their assets, reducing the number of daily meals, withdrawing children from school and consuming wild foods. In some cases, some people have even started eating lemurs.

Madagascar is heavily exposed to natural disasters like tropical cyclones, droughts and floods which have resulted in poor harvests. There’s also been an outbreak of bubonic plague and polio over the past year.

Despite this, international aid to this African island nation has steadily decreased over the years and its ongoing humanitarian crisis often doesn’t make the cut on the list of global aid initiatives. So why is that the case? We discuss at 19:30 GMT. 

In this episode of The Stream, we speak with: 

Willem van Milink @WFP
Madagascar Country Director, World Food Programme

Simon Allison @simonallison
Journalist, The Daily Maverick

Nimo Ali @nimojali
Community Health Volunteer

Lova Rakotomalala @lrakoto
Editor, Global Voices Online Madagascar

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