8th June 2012, Addis-Geneva/Geneva.- The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is appealing for 2.5 million Swiss francs (USD 2.6 million /EUR 2.1 million) to help those severely affected by the worsening food crisis in Mali.
More than three million people are currently facing a serious food crisis, largely due to factors such as failed harvests and rising food prices across the country. The situation has further deteriorated in recent months, with the conflict in the north resulting in the massive displacement of people both internally and to neighbouring countries. To date, more than 167,000 Malian refugees, mostly women and children, have fled to the neighbouring countries of Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Niger.
The funds raised from the appeal will help the Malian Red Cross to assist more than 142,000 people through both emergency response and more long term solutions to the current food crisis. This includes, for example, the distribution of emergency food aid and seeds to the most vulnerable communities, and the screening and referral of acutely malnourished children to health clinics.
The latest IFRC appeal will target as a priority the regions of western Mali, Kayes and Koulikoro, which have the highest rates of malnutrition. Interventions will then be extended to Mopti, Segou and Sikasso.
“Some rural households have already exhausted their coping strategies and there are still several months before the next harvest. The situation will worsen if strong measures are not taken "said Mamadou M. Traore, Secretary General of the Malian Red Cross.
“A major focus of our work is to address emergency and longer term needs in one coherent approach, in order to build community resilience and minimize their vulnerability to future droughts” explains Jean-Pierre Taschereau, Head of Operations at the IFRC Regional Office in Dakar.
“To achieve this, we will focus on distributing seeds, livestock fodder and ways to improve communal gardens to the same households that will be receiving food assistance. This way, the food will act as seeds protection ration and allow the families to get through the lean season until the next harvest” says Jean-Pierre Taschereau.
The Mali Red Cross, with support from the IFRC, has already provided assistance to 8,200 people. Staff and volunteers are operating in the northern part of the country affected by the armed conflict, with ICRC support, and in another regions with support from some partners from the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
More than 18 million people in Niger, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, The Gambia and some parts of Senegal are facing severe food shortages. In all concerned countries, the National Societies of Red Cross and Red Crescent, with support from the IFRC and other partners of the movement, are working to assist the affected populations.
For more information or interviews contact:
In Addis Ababa:
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• Jessica Sallabank, Senior Media Officer, IFRC
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