ECOWAS to give US$500,000 food aid to Mali

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The ECOWAS Commission has announced it will give Mali about US$500,000 in food aid within the next few weeks to support populations adversely affected by that country’s political and security crises.

The ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Gender, Dr. Adrienne Diop, announced the humanitarian assistance in Bamako, Mali, on Monday, according to an ECOWAS Commission statement obtained by PANA here Tuesday.

In an address at a ceremony for the official deployment of 20 members of the ECOWAS Emergency Response Team (EERT) in the country, the Commissioner said the food items, which include rice, were being procured with the facilitation of the World Food Programme (WFP).

In the address, read by Ambassador Tcheaka Toure, Special Representative of the ECOWAS Commission’s President to Mali, the Commissioner recalled that apart from mobilising international, political and diplomatic efforts to resolve the Malian crises, the regional bloc
has also rallied international financial support for post-conflict reconstruction of the country.

In April 2012, ECOWAS donated US$3 million to Mali and another US$1.5 million to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger to support Malian populations displaced by the conflict.

Mali’s Minister of Labour, Social and Humanitarian Affairs Hamadou Konate, who presided at the ceremony, expressed the gratitude of the Malian Government and people to ECOWAS and its member states for coming to the aid of the country during its time of need.

Also, the Acting Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Mali, Mr. Noel Tsekouras, commended ECOWAS for its laudable humanitarian initiatives and pledged his organisation’s willingness to partner with the regional economic bloc to deliver on the objectives of the humanitarian support.

It is estimated that the Malian crises produced more than 169,000 refugees and 311,000 Internally Displaced Persons, with some 1.3 million people needing immediate food assistance in the north of the country.

Also, of the estimated 800,000 school age children in the country of some 16.5 million people, only 500,000 have been provided for in the 2013/14 academic year.

As part of the training on Monday, the EERT members being deployed for three months received briefings from UN Development Programme officials on the general situation in Mali, as well as on the security situation by Mr. Soulemane Thioune, the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) chief of MINUSMA, the UN mission in Mali.
-0- PANA SEG 19Nov2013

19 november 2013 13:36:13

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