Global hunger is not just a product of natural disasters and events; it is continually made worse by human activity, especially armed conflicts and other political instability. Mali, a land-locked country in Africa, is a prime example of the devastating effects these events have on people.
A recent report from officials in Mali and the United Nations noted that more than 3 million people in the country officially suffer from the effects of hunger. Among this number are 715,000 children who are at risk of acute malnutrition and possible death from starvation and related diseases. The Timbuktu region is particularly worrying, as malnutrition rates there now exceed the emergency threshold.
This time of year is often lean in Mali, but recent armed conflict in the north of the country is responsible for many additional problems. It weakens the economy and threatens civilians, exposing them to hunger, according to Mali’s Social Development adviser Moussa Ouattara. It also prevents any growth of political stability and stops humanitarian aid from getting to people in need.
Fighting broke out recently between pro-government militia groups and Tuareg separatists. The actual battles lasted for three days, but the violence broke a peace accord that was signed in June. In July, tensions rose as government-allied groups began to settle in territories occupied by separatists, with the separatists stating the militia presence is against the terms of the accord.