The World Food Programme is warning that the worst drought in southern Madagascar for four decades is causing hunger and famine-like conditions.
Its director, David Beasley, who has just visited the region, said that without immediate assistance more than half a million people would soon be “knocking on famine’s door”, with another 800,000 marching towards it.
He said he was shocked by what he had seen in southern Madagascar – children who were just skin and bones, families eating mud and the fruit of cacti because there was nothing else.
He called it a silent tragedy in a forgotten location.
The crisis was being driven by climate change, with drought after drought forcing families to leave their homes, through no fault of their own, Mr Beasley said.
He said wealthy nations had a moral obligation to help.