Madagascar droughts push 400,000 toward starvation
The U.N. World Food Program says southern Madagascar is in the throes of back-to-back droughts that are pushing 400,000 people toward starvation, and have already caused deaths from severe hunger.
Lola Castro, WFP’s regional director in southern Africa, told a news conference Friday that she witnessed “a very dramatic and desperate situation” during her recent visit with WFP chief David Beasley to the Indian Ocean island nation of 26 million people.
Hundreds of adults and children were “wasted,” and hundreds of kids were skin and bones and receiving nutritional support, she said.
In 28 years working for WFP on four continents, Castro said she had “never seen anything this bad” except in 1998 in Bahr el-Gazal in what is now South Sudan.
The U.N. and Madagascar’s government are launching an appeal for about $155 million in a few days to provide life-saving food and prevent a major famine, she said. Thousands of people have left their homes in rural areas and moved to more urban environments in search of food, she added…
Tropical Storm Enrique to become 1st hurricane of 2021 season
While Atlantic tropical activity has diminished to a slight simmer for the time being after Claudette’s tour of the southeastern United States, waters over the eastern Pacific have spawned Tropical Storm Enrique. AccuWeather meteorologists predict Enrique will become the first hurricane of the 2021 season for either basin.
Enrique was upgraded to a tropical storm and the fifth named system in the eastern Pacific basin early Friday morning and further strengthening is anticipated into this weekend. As of 4 p.m. CDT Friday, Enrique had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph with higher gusts and was moving toward the west-northwest at 8 mph…