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UNICEF raises concerns about southern Madagascar

The U.N. children's agency fears Madagascar's political crisis and a freeze on development aid is hurting the most vulnerable.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The U.N. children's agency fears Madagascar's political crisis and a freeze on development aid is hurting the most vulnerable.

UNICEF regional emergency specialist Lana Wreikat says drought in Madagascar's south had left 13 percent of children under 5 malnourished. An emergency would be declared at 15 percent.

Wreikat said Friday that the toppling of Madagascar's president in March by a military-backed leader has distracted the government and slowed its response to the drought.

Donors froze development aid because of the coup. While humanitarian aid continues, UNICEF says development aid is needed for health and other infrastructure to cope with emergencies in an already impoverished country.