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Madagascar Sanctions Causing Hunger: UN

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Madagascans celebrate 50 years of independence in Antananarivo on June 26 2010. | getty

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar -- A U.N. food official says international sanctions against the government of Madagascar's coup leader have left half of the population hungry.

Olivier De Schutter also says nearly 70 percent of people living in the south of the island nation are food insecure and that the country has one of the world's highest levels of child malnutrition. He ended a five-day visit to the Indian Ocean nation on Friday.

The U.S. and E.U. were among donors who stopped giving assistance after coup leader Andry Rajoelina overthrew the elected president in 2009. De Schutter says those sanctions have led to major job losses and hurt agricultural development.

He says a humanitarian catastrophe could occur and urged nations to reconsider their sanctions.

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