The mother of four shakes the grubby plastic jerry can and sighs. “It’s not really enough,” she says, gesturing first to the almost empty five litre container, then the skinny children peering through the doorway. “But it has to be enough for now.”
Not so long ago, water was plentiful in this hot and arid part of southern Madagascar, an island some 250 miles off the coast of Africa. Then the drought descended.
In the last two to three years the price of water has jumped 300 per cent, in a region where 91 per cent of people earn less than $1.90 a day. Incomes here are inconsistent at best, but a family selling two to three bags of charcoal a month could expect to earn between 20,000 and 30,000 Malagasy ariary – $5 to $7.50.
Horariby and her children have a choice: they either trudge 12 kilometres on foot to collect water from the nearest large town, or buy it at twice the price from a cattle drawn cart that comes to her village, piled high with yellow jerry cans.
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Water scarcity as a result of loss of forests. Madagascar = Hunger + water scarcity + malnutrition. If we do not engage in saving our forests and afforestation of the lands we live on then this is the dead end for all of humanity. https://t.co/SJ21TLvjGe
— Veeresh Shivalingappa Sajjan (@sajjanveereshs) December 7, 2021