Displaced people in northern Mali facing severe food shortagesListen /
The humanitarian situation in northern Mali is rapidly deteriorating leaving thousands of displaced families impoverished, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The situation in the region, the agency adds, has been made worse by the lack of adequate funds to sustain ongoing humanitarian assistance programmes.
OCHA says it has only managed to raise about 25 per cent of the $410 million requested for the Mali emergency operation.
Jens Laerke from OCHA says the United Nations has allocated $16 million from its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to jump-start life saving humanitarian projects in northern Mali.
"The CERF allocations are injections of funds into high-priority projects in areas of health, nutrition, protection, water/sanitation/hygiene, shelter, food and education. The projects will be implemented over the next six months. Mali is at the beginning of the lean season and the food situation in the northern regions of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal is alarming. People in the Tessalit and Abeibera for those 2 sub-regions are very severely affected and they have reached the technical level 4 of extreme food vulnerability. That translates in widespread hunger. "
OCHA however says access to northern Mali is still a challenge because of ongoing military operations and the presence of mines and explosive remnants of war.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.