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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid