Conflict in Mali is exacerbating the food crisis in Sahel where 10 million people are suffering from hunger, visiting UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said.
People have been moving out of Mali into neighboring countries as a result of the conflict, even before the coup. “What it has done is to exacerbate an already difficult food situation in that part of the world,” said UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Amos.
More than 10 million people are suffering from hunger as drought, poverty, high grain prices and environmental degradation hit Mali, Niger and six other Sahel countries. Conflict between rebels and government forces have driven tens of thousands of people from northern Mali into Niger, a country hit hard by epidemic hunger with 5.4 million people struggling for food.
Mutinous soldiers in Mali claimed to have seized power Thursday after storming the presidential palace and arresting some ministers. Amos said it is too early to tell the impact of the coup but maintained that it is important for Mali to return into a constitutional form of government.
The UN Security Council on Thursday strong
ly condemned the action of mutinous soldiers in Mali and demanded the release of all detained officials.