UN warns of climate-induced famine in Madagascar

More than one million people in the Indian Ocean nation of Madagascar are facing serious food shortages due to a prolonged drought caused by climate change.

UN officials say four consecutive years of drought in southern Madagascar have dried up rivers and devastated farms. Farming is the island nation's mainstay industry.

The officials say Madagascar is facing the prospect of becoming the first country in the world to deal with a famine caused by climate change.

More than 1.3 million people are said to be facing food shortages in the southern regions. About 30,000 of them are dealing with "famine-like conditions."

The officials say signs of a lack of nutrition are visible in many of the children receiving checkups at village health centers. They say some are severely malnourished.

The serious lack of water is not only preventing farmers from raising crops. The farmers also need to buy drinking water. That leaves them with less money to spend on food.

The United Nations is providing emergency food aid to Madagascar. The organization is receiving support from various countries. Japan has contributed 2.6 million dollars to the initiative.

The World Food Programme's Deputy Country Director in Madagascar is sounding the alarm. Arduino Mangoni says Madagascar is the only country in the world facing serious food insecurity that is not driven by conflict.