Food crisis in Mali and Sahel Countries


Conflict, inconsistent harvests, high food prices, and political instability have hindered millions of families’ ability to recover since the 2012 drought.

More than 3 million Malians may run out of food in the coming months as a result of below-average harvests and the lingering effects of conflict, aid agencies warn. 
About 800,000 people need food assistance now, say World Vision and other agencies helping communities deal with lack of food supplies there. More than 400,000 Malian children are acutely malnourished, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Mali says.

“The situation is Mali is deteriorating, and a crisis could be looming,” says Thomas Okollah, humanitarian and emergency affairs manager for World Vision in Mali. “The harvest was very poor, and, in some regions, no harvest was realized.”

World Vision has been distributing emergency food supplies to help 100,000 people in Mali get through lean times.

Malians’ struggle is part of a larger food crisis re-emerging in countries throughout the Sahel region, including Senegal, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad. This is the third drought to hit the Sahel in less than 10 years. The U.N. estimates a total of 4.9 million children under 5 and pregnant mothers across the Sahel region are severely undernourished.

The U.N. expects more than 20 million people will lack adequate food supplies through 2016.  It recently asked for $2 billion to cover the cost of helping communities in the Sahel.

“The task is huge, considering the environmental situation in the Sahel,” Thomas says. “It is also difficult, but not insurmountable.”

Written by Chris Huber

Photo © 2013 World Vision


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