More to be done for Malagasy poor, scientists say

Image copyright Al Jazeera Image caption Madagascan farmers say they need to plant twice the usual amount of maize because of the drought

Researchers in Madagascar say their new study has established conclusively that drought is not only ineluctable in the country but that it is also unpredictable and deep.

The research confirms that emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases play a large role in the erratic weather that causes recurring droughts.

However, it also highlights the potential for more to be done to aid the poor in Madagascar.

The study, which did not receive funding from the European Union, is in line with the framework of the UK’s 2017 climate change agreement, which envisages action by 2020.

Climate change is already forcing migrants from the poor countries of Sub-Saharan Africa to seek refuge elsewhere, the researchers said.

Inadequate human rights

Guillaume Boire, who led the study while a researcher at the Health Institute of Belgium, said that Malagasy people have “access to little to no health care and nutrition is deteriorating.”

Until now, the causes of the widespread poverty are “ignored or even laughed at”, he said.

He added that the situation is likely to get worse as “forest depletion in the southwest of the country means that droughts also start there.”

One of the biggest challenges, the researchers said, is dealing with the scarcity of food which makes people vulnerable to avoidable deaths.

“People are dying at an emergency rate because they can’t get the nutrition that they need,” the study’s co-author, Frankle Gai, told BBC News.

The report states that lack of enough vitamins and minerals in the food given to those in urgent need is “severely detrimental to the mental and physical health of millions of poor children and pregnant and nursing women.”

The finding are part of the findings of a search for the best of global knowledge on climate change.

The study was published on Wednesday in journal Global Environmental Change.

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