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Five million people starving in Mali: UNICEF

Five million people starving in Mali: UNICEF

Nearly five million people are starving in Mali due to a combination of drought and political instability plaguing the impoverished West African country, says The United Nations.

“Mali has been going through a chronic nutrition crisis,” said Afshan Khan, the emergency director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), adding, “It’s related to droughts, harvest failures, locust invasions and it’s further been aggravated by the political conflict, insecurity and population displacement.” He also said that Malnutrition rates in Mali are now similar to the crises in South Sudan and the Horn of Africa.

Press TV reports: John Ging, director of UN humanitarian operations, also warned that the conditions are likely to worsen.

The UN official had said in June that almost half a million children under the age of five were at the risk of acute malnutrition and 1.5 million people were “food insecure.”

Meanwhile, the World Food Program (WFP), which responds to five humanitarian crises in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, the Central African Republic as well as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, said it would have to reduce food rations in other places.

“We really don’t want to be doing this,” said WFP spokesman Steve Taravella, adding, “Telling hungry people they’ll be receiving less food than they’re accustomed to is never easy.”

The WFP declared in October that it should cut ration for Syria by 40 percent. The ration for the crisis-torn country was cut by a further 20 percent this month.