News / Africa

WFP Scales Up Operation in Sahel

A girl gathers rice spilled from a humanitarian food convoy in the northeastern city of Gao, Mali, June 14, 2012.
A girl gathers rice spilled from a humanitarian food convoy in the northeastern city of Gao, Mali, June 14, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
GENEVA — The World Food Program says it is scaling up its humanitarian operation in West Africa’s Sahel region to assist 10 million people critically short of food. WFP says among the beneficiaries will be 1.3 million people in Mali, including 300,000 internally displaced within the country.

In April, the government of Mali estimated that almost three million people living in drought-affected areas were food insecure. More recently, the WFP estimated that 1.6 million people in the regions of Gao, Kidal, Timbuktu and parts of Mopti are thought to be at risk of severe food insecurity, due to recent conflict in which rebels seized control of all of northern Mali.

WFP spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs says food distributions are ongoing in drought-affected areas in southern Mali but that need in the rebel-controlled north is huge.

WFP staffers, however, are not allowed to go to the northern towns because of the security situation, she said, explaining that WFP is instead working with local non-governmental agencies to provide food to the vulnerable people in that part of the country.

“The rebel occupation in the northern area of Mali has exacerbated an already very precarious food security situation," she said. "We estimate that 340,000 people have been displaced internally and also fled into neighboring countries, [which] is why the situation is of concern.”

In June, WFP launched a system of cash transfers in Mali for the first time. As part of a pilot program that aims to reach 45,000 people in the western region of Koulikoro, Byrs says each household receives around $50 a month, which it can spend as it sees fit.

The program's initial two-month phase, if it proves successful, says Byrs, will be expanded to other regions.

“It is better to have a cash transfer program because each family can buy what they need and what they like," she said. "They can buy local food and it boosts [the] local economy. It's better than just distributing the food rations and [the] household can also buy exactly what [its inhabitants] need according to their food habits and their culture."

Besides food shortages, WFP says people in some parts of the Sahel also are being threatened by a possible plague of locusts. WFP says there have been reports over the past two weeks that swarms of desert locusts are moving southward from Algeria and Libya.

It says locust-control efforts are being hampered by insecurity in the region, because experts and control teams are having difficulty accessing affected areas. The World Food Program warns that the arrival of locusts would lead to devastation of fodder and crops, exacerbating the food situation in the Sahel.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid