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19 Nov 2012 description
report Voice of America

Jennifer Lazuta November 19, 2012

DAKAR, SENEGAL — Severe food shortages have hit 18 million people across nine countries this year in Africa's Sahel region, following unpredictable and insufficient rains. The region bordering the Sahara Desert has had three severe food crises in four years, and international aid agencies say it is time to break the cycle of food insecurity in the Sahel.

As this year's emergency winds down, the question on aid workers' minds is, "How can the Sahel break from its recurring cycle of food crises?"

15 Nov 2012 description
report Voice of America

Kim Lewis Last updated on: November 15, 2012 6:38 AM

A 7.8 million dollar grant offered through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation will help an American university work with eight African countries to improve their farming techniques.

Michigan State University, through funding from the Gates Foundation Global Development Program, says the research aims to intensify farming methods that meet the agricultural needs of Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

02 Nov 2012 description
report Voice of America

Aid workers say child malnutrition is reaching emergency levels in northern Mali which has been under the control of armed militant groups since April.

Brussels-based aid organization, Medecins du Monde, or Doctors of the World, says malnutrition rates among children under the age of five in occupied northern Mali are reaching "alarming levels."

08 Oct 2012 description
report Voice of America

Anne Look October 08, 2012

SEVARE, MALI — Northern Malian militias are uniting and training young men and women how to fight as they prepare for an offensive to the North. The militias reflect a growing eagerness among Malians to retake the territory seized by Al-Qaida-linked militants in April.

There's a new generation of the Ganda Koy. Its leaders revived the militia in April shortly after armed groups seized Mali’s three northern regions. Volunteers are getting a crash course in being soldiers.

03 Oct 2012 description
report Voice of America

Kim Lewis Last updated on: October 03, 2012 11:05 AM

Clashes between government forces and Tuareg separatists in northern Mali have caused over 300,000 people to flee their homes for safety since the beginning of this year. The Norwegian Refugee Council, NRC, says many people are living with host families while others are out in the open in makeshift shelters. The group says families have lost their livelihoods and children are not attending school as they should.

24 Sep 2012 description
report Voice of America

Anne Look September 24, 2012

BAMAKO — Mali remains mired in uncertainty six months after a military coup derailed what was a relatively stable, but some say faltering, democracy and paved the way for al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants to seize the northern half of the country.

It has been six months since an army mutiny spiraled into a military coup in the early hours of March 22.

Some in Mali cheered the coup as the shock treatment the country needed - a purging of an unpopular leadership that many said was corrupt, and chance to get back on track.

28 Aug 2012 description
report Voice of America

GENEVA – The World Health Organization reports Guinea Worm disease, which has plagued people for thousands of years, is on the verge of eradication.

The U.N. agency says fewer than 400 cases of the infectious parasitic disease exist in four African countries, and that it will soon become only the second, after smallpox, to be wiped off the face of the earth.

A third contender for eradication is polio.

20 Aug 2012 description
report Voice of America

Aid agencies are fighting a renewed cholera outbreak in rebel-controlled northern Mali, one of several parts of West Africa dealing with the disease.

Authorities in Mali's Gao and Asongo districts have reported 147 cases and 12 deaths since early July. The number of cases, which had begun to fall earlier this month, are again on the rise, aggravated by the rainy season.

23 Jul 2012 description
report Voice of America

by Anne Look

DAKAR, Senegal — Six armed militias in Mali have joined forces and say they will retake the country's north from Islamist and rebel groups in control of the territory since April.

The Patriotic Forces of Resistance [FPR] says it will fight the Islamist militants and Tuareg separatists who seized control of northern Mali following a chaotic military coup four months ago. The FPR, the force's French initials, includes the northern Ganda Koy militia headed by Harouna Toure.

17 Jul 2012 description
report Voice of America

Nancy Palus

DAKAR — Calm has returned to Goundam, in Mali's Timbuktu region, after the armed group Ansar Dine brought in reinforcements and rounded up people following demonstrations on Saturday.

Residents say their only options are to flee or to submit to the commands of Ansar Dine - which is bent on imposing a version of Islamic law far more severe than Goundam's Muslim population is accustomed to.

16 Jul 2012 description
report Voice of America

Ricci Shryock

The White House announced Thursday it is releasing up to $10 million to go toward emergency relief for displaced refugees in, and migrants from Mali.

According to Remi Dourlot, a spokesperson for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the money is needed to help relieve some of the suffering of more than 230,000 people who have fled violence in Mali, as well as the more than 155,000 internally displaced (IDP) who fled fighting in the north, but who remain in the country.

13 Jul 2012 description
report Voice of America

Residents of Goundam, in Mali's Timbuktu region, rose up against the armed group Ansar Dine on Friday after the group carried out beatings in its bid to impose strict Islamic law. Goundam residents said people began demonstrating after the group whipped a woman holding an infant.

06 Jul 2012 description
report Voice of America

James Butty

Several regional leaders, who are part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediation effort on Mali, meet Saturday in the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou, to review the crisis in Mali.

Abdel Fatau Musah, ECOWAS director for external relations, said one purpose of the Ouagadougou meeting is to explore how best to broaden the transitional government and chart a road map for elections.

03 Jul 2012 description
report Voice of America

by Lisa Schlein

GENEVA — The World Food Program says it is scaling up its humanitarian operation in West Africa’s Sahel region to assist 10 million people critically short of food. WFP says among the beneficiaries will be 1.3 million people in Mali, including 300,000 internally displaced within the country.

11 Jun 2012 description
report Voice of America

An official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says the sub-regional body is running out of time and patience for negotiating a settlement with Mali’s northern rebels.

Abdel Fatau Musah, ECOWAS director for external relations, says if the rebels do not soon relinquish control of the key cities of Gao, Timbuktu, and Kidal, then ECOWAS will have no option but to use all means necessary, including force, to regain control.

07 Jun 2012 description
report Voice of America

The fight against hunger in the Sahel region continues as the World Food Program, WFP, and its partners are vigorously responding with humanitarian assistance to reach more than nine million people.

Consecutive droughts over the past three years have been ravaging the region, giving people no time to recover or grow food.

08 May 2012 description
report Voice of America

by Nancy Palus

A national guard soldier walks by demonstrators at Bamako airport, Mali, March 29, 2012. When Malian soldiers seized power on March 22, they said it was to oust a president who failed to handle the rebellion in the north.

29 Apr 2012 description
report Voice of America

Nancy Palus | Dakar, Senegal

Nearly one month after northern Mali fell to Tuareg rebels and Islamic groups, youth activists say the country's failure to act combined with a push by the armed groups to win people's favor is creating a dangerous and irreversible situation. They say beyond the physical division of Mali, the continued occupation threatens to permanently divide a people.

21 Apr 2012 description
report Voice of America

Mali's transitional prime minister says the country is ready to negotiate with Tuareg rebels in the north. But he insists that no Malian territory would remain occupied by armed groups.

In his first national address, which led the nightly newscast on Friday, interim Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra said the government’s top priority would be to re-conquer territory currently occupied by Tuareg rebels and Islamic groups.

He said all options are possible - first among them, negotiation.

20 Apr 2012 description
report Voice of America

The first convoy delivering food and medicines to rebel-occupied northern Mali just returned to the capital Bamako. Aid workers are looking to this and other aid missions for insights and logistical tips as they prepare future convoys to the region, where armed groups reign and tens of thousands of people need assistance.

Aid organizations looted