UNITED NATIONS, June 9 (Xinhua) -- An El Nino-induced drought is affecting more than 1.1 million people in Madagascar, including 665,000 people who are facing severe food insecurity, a UN spokesman said here Thursday, citing a report of the UN humanitarian agency.
An estimated 7,000 children under five are suffering from severe acute malnutrition and an additional 32,000 children -- also under five -- have moderate acute malnutrition, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, citing the latest situation report in the island country by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The Grand Sud -- the country's southernmost and least developed part -- is hardest hit by the drought, having had only half of the normal rains since May 2015, which has devastating effects on agriculture, he noted.
About 80 percent of this year's harvest in the region will be lost due to the drought, according to projections.
"School enrollment rates in the Grand Sud are already lower than the national average, and children are missing out on school: girls are spending hours every day in search of water while boys herd cattle to water sources," he said.
Madagascar's Humanitarian Response Plan, covering April 2016 to April 2017, requires 69.9 million U.S. dollars to provide food aid, health, nutrition, water, sanitation, education and protection assistance for 665,000 most vulnerable people. But it is currently 34 percent funded. Enditem