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

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid