Bamako — An Emergency Food Security Assessment conducted jointly by the Government of Mali, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), and 15 other partners shows that three out of four households living in northern regions of the country are food insecure and heavily reliant on food assistance.
The most vulnerable people in northern Mali, estimated to number around 1.3 million, have had little chance to recover following the recent conflict and last year's food and nutrition crisis as a result of erratic rains.
As internally displaced people and refugees begin to return to their home communities, the limited resources will be further strained and the number of people requiring assistance is likely to increase.
The depletion of livestock in the last few months is having a serious impact on the food security and livelihoods of the agro-pastoral population. The combined effects of the food crisis and the security situation have left little room for recovery.
Although the local economy is slowly recovering in the north and food security agencies are strengthening their presence, many farmers have been unable to purchase seeds and fertilizers and continue to require food assistance.
To scale up its operation in the north until the end of the lean season, WFP requires US$67 million in contributions to continue to provide vital food assistance to the most vulnerable population and respond to the nutritional needs of children, pregnant and lactating women.
FAO requires US$12 million in contributions to protect and restore the livelihoods of vulnerable households in the northern part of the country. Assistance provided until the end of the year will primarily include the provision of agricultural quality inputs, veterinary inputs for livestock and fishing gear for 420 000 vulnerable people, enabling them to produce food as early as December 2013.
These combined actions will help the Government of Mali, FAO and WFP to save lives and livelihoods by providing food assistance and agricultural productive means to the most vulnerable people in the northern regions of Timbuktu, Gao, Kidal and Mopti.
An Emergency Food Security Assessment for the south of the country is currently being undertaken.
Achieving food security for all is at the heart of FAO's efforts - to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. Our mandate is to improve nutrition, increase agricultural productivity, raise the standard of living in rural populations and contribute to global economic growth.
FAO - For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@FAO.org):
Ms Fatouma Seid, FAO Representative, Mali, Tel. +233 20 22 63 33
Mr Jean Pierre Renson, Sr Operations Coordinator, FAO/Mali, Tel. +233 20 22 65 76
Mr Dominique Burgeon, Emergency Director, FAO/Rome, Tel. +39 06570 53 803
Follow us on Twitter @FAOemergencies
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.
Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media
WFP - For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org):
Alexandre Brecher, WFP/Mali, Mob. +223 90 08 33 35
Emilia Casella, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 3854, Mob. +39 347 9450634
Elisabeth Byrs, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41 22 917 8564, Mob. +41 79 473 4570