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Rebels in Mali leave behind scorched earth

Source: Deutsche Welthungerhilfe (German Agro Action) - Germany - Wed, 6 Feb 2013 12:54 GMT
Author: Doris Theisen
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Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

(04.02.2013) During the last few days, national Welthungerhilfe staff visited the villages in the Diabali region, which is home to approximately 44,000 people. The city of Diabali, around 400 km north of the capital city of Bamako, was the site of heavy fighting due to its strategic location. When they withdrew, the rebels destroyed rice fields, grain storage facilities and fields, and looted houses.

The city of Diabali, around 400 km north of the capital city of Bamako, was the site of heavy fighting due to its strategic location. The region around Diabali has always been considered fertile, and its people were able to feed themselves prior to the fighting. Many families now receive support from their neighbours, who have very little food themselves. Until now, the region has not received any outside help.

The population that is now returning to the region has run out of reserves and stocks. People are greatly dependent on aid to re-establish their livelihoods. For this reason, Welthungerhilfe is distributing basic rations of rice, beans, cooking oil, along with special food for small children, to 4,000 households to help people start a new life. This activity will provide aid to 24,000 people. Welthungerhilfe will also expand its aid activities to the Timbuktu region, as soon as this region becomes accessible to aid agencies.

Welthungerhilfe has been supporting projects in Mali since 1968. Together with the local population, the organisation has supported projects in the area of sustainable food security, education and agricultural development. Welthungerhilfe has also continued to provide active emergency aid due to recurring political unrest and extreme climatic fluctuations.

Many of the 14 million people in Mali are suffering from chronic undernourishment. The population must also deal with the effects of the 2012 drought in the Sahel. Welthungerhilfe offers support to those in need particularly in difficult times such as these.

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