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UN: Mali Needs to Show Leadership to Tackle Crisis

FILE - Displaced people are seen gathered at a house in Bamako February 21, 2014.
A top United Nations official is calling on Mali's government to show "courageous leadership" to tackle political problems that have led to a grave humanitarian crisis.

Humanitarian affairs official John Ging, who spent three days in Mali last week, says about half-a-million children younger than five are at risk of acute malnutrition.

He says one and half million others in Mali need immediate food aid.

Ging says the crisis in Mali is man-made. But he said if the country can tackle the issues causing unrest, it has the potential to sustain itself.

Mali has been in chaos since Tuareg rebels, and later al-Qaida linked militants, took advantage of a military coup to seized control of the north.

French forces helped push out the Islamists. Despite a ceasefire, violence still plagues the country.