News / Africa

Aid Groups Warn of Potential Food Crisis in Northern Mali

A girl gathers rice spilled from a humanitarian food convoy that arrived from the Malian capital Bamako in the northeastern city of Gao, Jun. 14, 2012.
A girl gathers rice spilled from a humanitarian food convoy that arrived from the Malian capital Bamako in the northeastern city of Gao, Jun. 14, 2012.
Jennifer Lazuta
International aid agencies warned Thursday that food insecurity in northern Mali will reach “emergency levels” within two months if more attention is not given to humanitarian issues. They are now calling for increased food aid distribution and for the full disbursement of requested emergency aid funds.

A joint analysis by four international aid agencies found Thursday that up to two-thirds of the people in Mali’s northern regions of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal do not have enough to eat.

"Right now the north of Mali is in a crisis situation, said Philippe Conraud is the Mali country director for Oxfam. "It’s a level three out of four. The fourth one, emergency, might be reached over the next couple of months if nothing is done. So what that means in terms of [food] reserves, and in terms of us, is that, in that situation, we need to provide free food distribution, massive food distribution."

Conraud said in some cases, the food just is not there for sale. In other cases, the food is there but locals do not have the money to buy it.

Many shopkeepers and traders fled the region due to fighting and ethnic tensions. And Algeria closed its border with Mali in January when the French-led military intervention began. That has made it difficult for supplies to reach the markets.

Banks were looted in northern Mali in April 2012 when the region fell to rebel groups, and they have not reopened.

Oxfam reports that the price of food staples like pasta, rice and sugar doubled in some areas between October 2012 and February 2013.

Aid group Action Against Hunger says that daily wages in northern Mali fell from $2.50 in 2012 to between $1.50 and $2 in the beginning of 2013.

The head of Solidarity International in Mali, Franck Abeille, said this has left many people in a very precarious situation.

"We are not at the point where people have nothing to eat at all, but it’s quite hard for them," he said. "They are reducing the number of meals per day. They are all selling all their livestock. Some don’t have the capacity to find food. Some have to contract more credit and more credit, which could be very hard for them to later refund."

Abeille said that to keep the situation from getting worse, humanitarian aid must not only be brought in as quickly as possible, but it must be adapted to each community’s needs.

"[For example], if you are in some places where the markets are not supplied at all and you have no food available, then you have to do some food distribution. If you are in some places where the markets are supplied, then you can do some cash allowance programs. So solutions exist on the humanitarian side," said Abeille.

He said that the problem now is funding.

As of April 19, only 26 percent of the U.N.’s requested emergency aid money had been received.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: George
April 28, 2013 11:55 PM
And what of Zimbabwe, many too do have enough food and the reasons are well documented - with tragic consequences.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid