WFP official sounds alarm on Mali food crisis

Thursday, March 21, 2013
WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin with other officials at the Sévaré camp in Mopti. [PHOTO: UNifeed]
Mopti, Mali: The people of Mali continue to suffer the impact of mass displacement and they urgently need food and other humanitarian assistance, said the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) Ertharin Cousin, on her return from a five-day trip to Mali and Burkina Faso (13-17 March).

There, she met people affected by the conflict in Mali and by cycles of drought and poor harvests. 

Yesterday, meeting those displaced in Mopti, Cousin said that "people are still suffering; the crisis is not over. It is not safe in many of the communities in the North and people cannot go home."

Mopti is a central Malian town considered the gateway to the country's north. From there, WFP is sending food by road and riverboat to Timbuktu, further upstream.

Parts of Mali have recently become more accessible and WFP has begun to send food to Northern Mali, which had been cut off from most humanitarian assistance since conflict flared one year ago. However the situation is still volatile and many areas remain out of reach.

The United Nations says more than 270,000 people have been displaced within Mali, while more than 170,000 refugees have fled to neighbouring Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger. WFP and its partners are providing food assistance in all four countries. -UNifeed
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