Southern Madagascar to suffer drought impact into 2017

Some rain fell in southern Madagascar last week, a rare piece of good news for a drought-hit region where nearly a million people face hunger because of failed harvests. But aid groups warn that more rain is needed for the current crop-planting season to succeed and they expect the dire humanitarian situation to stretch into 2017.

Joshua Poole, the Madagascar representative for Catholic Relief Services, said Tuesday that farmers started some seed-planting because of the recent rainfall. Poole says, however, that the seeds could be wasted if there is no more rain to help crops grow.

The U.N. World Food Programme says many households in southern Madagascar are begging and selling land and belongings to survive. It says funding shortages have compelled it to cut rations to people receiving aid.