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Oxfam Warns of Growing Food Crisis in Northern Mali

A convoy of French supplies reaches Gao, northern Mali, February 4, 2013. A convoy of French supplies reaches Gao, northern Mali, February 4, 2013.
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A convoy of French supplies reaches Gao, northern Mali, February 4, 2013.
A convoy of French supplies reaches Gao, northern Mali, February 4, 2013.

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Kim Lewis
The international aid group Oxfam warns the food situation in northern Mali is very critical following the recent military operations.

As French and Malian troops advanced on the Islamist militia, the group said many of the key suppliers of food and fuel fled the area, especially Gao, along with thousands of others. They also said, what little stocks remain have risen in price by as much as 20 percent, and even those supplies are running out.

“The humanitarian situation in general is of concern for us because the military intervention and escalation of violence had consequences in terms of a humanitarian situation which was already bad.  We have to remember that in 2012, more than 4.6 million people were affected by severe food prices in Mali, both in the north and in the south, so of course we fear the ongoing military operation can worsen the humanitarian situation,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Oxfam’s policy campaign manager for Oxfam, who’s in Bamako.

Allegrozzi added that food and fuel traders are critical to the local economy and without their return the humanitarian situation will deteriorate.        

“At the moment the main traders didn’t come back yet.  Although markets are now open, if traders do not come back soon, and the flows of food into the north regions of Mali do not start again, the situation will be very bad.  And we are already observing markets and they are not well supplied, which makes it very difficult for people to get enough food to feed their families,” explained Allegrozzi.

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