A change of tide in Mali

By John Alliage Morales 07 February 2013

A scene in Mopti, central Mali. Photo by: Ferdinand Reus / CC BY-NC-ND

After weeks of airstrikes, the World Food Program and some of its partners have resumed operations in Mali’s north.

Seven boats carrying 600 tons of food aid left the river port of Mopti over the weekend toward Nianfunké, near Timbuktu. The boats carried a month’s worth of food to some 35,000 people, according to U.N. food agency’s spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs. 

French and Malian troops took control of Timbuktu on Jan. 28.

Food rations for 112,600 people are also scheduled to leave for Goundam, Diré and Timbuktu districts, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report.

“International NGOs will manage distributions,” OCHA said.

WFP and its NGO partners are also distributing food to 77,000 internally-displaced persons in Bamako, Ségou, Mopti and Kayes, according to OCHA. Yet while the resumption of food aid operations is a welcome sign, concerns over food shortages remain.

According to OCHA, only 2 percent of Mali’s $373 million consolidated appeal for this year had been funded by Feb. 5.

In a report, International NGO Oxfam observed: “In areas of northern Mali, the price of food and fuel is rocketing as supplies start to dry up after looting following recent military operations, and with traders who have fled the area failing to return amid growing numbers of reports of reprisal attacks.”

U.N. estimates that half a million people are food-insecure and more than 4.3 million people need humanitarian aid after fighting that broke out in 2012 uprooted tens of thousands of people from their homes and resulted in roads blockages, business shutdowns, and the suspension of basic services, government and otherwise.

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About the author

Alliage profile
John Alliage Morales

As a staff writer, John Alliage Morales covers the Americas, focusing on the world's top donor hub, Washington, and its aid community - from Capitol Hill to Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom to the downtown headquarters of USAID, the World Bank and Millennium Challenge Corp. Prior to joining Devex, Alliage worked for a variety of news outlets including GMA, the Philippine TV network, where he conducted interviews, analyzed data and produced in-depth stories on development and other topics.

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