ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar — As drought pushes more than 1 million people toward famine in southern Madagascar, violent winds have been veiling the sky with dust and sand, at times blotting out the sun. The natural phenomenon is known locally as a tiomena: tio means “wind” in Malagasy and mena means “red.” It is complicating an already precarious situation. The U.N.’s World Food Programme has urgently requested $35 million to fund lifesaving food and cash distributions and malnutrition treatment programs. And on Jan. 18, the U.N. and the Malagasy government jointly launched a “flash appeal” for $75.9 million in international aid to improve access to food, water, and medical care for the 1.27 million people affected. People are fleeing the area and the government is struggling to cope with waves of migration reported as of early January. “In the area of Tanandava within Amboasary Atsimo district, all the residents have abandoned their village,” Tsimanova Nazaire Paubert, an entrepreneur and student of political anthropology based in Ambovombe, the capital of the Androy region that is the epicenter of the drought and winds, told Mongabay. “All their houses were buried in the sand raised by the tiomena.” A man during a dust or sand storm known as a tiomena in the Androy region of southern Madagascar. Image by Tsimanova Nazaire Paubert. A natural phenomenon  Tiomenas can occur almost anywhere in Madagascar when the wind blows intensely in arid, dusty areas. As a particularly dusty area with poor vegetation cover that is in the…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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