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Sat Mar 9, 2013 6:41PM
Malian women walk near a refugee camp in Mali’s northwestern city of Dori on December 7, 2012.

Malian women walk near a refugee camp in Mali’s northwestern city of Dori on December 7, 2012.

The UN World Food Program (WFP) has started to distribute food among the war-weary Malians experiencing a dire humanitarian crisis amid the French-led war on the country. On Friday, the UN humanitarian organization said it managed to dispatch food supplies using plane and boat to Mali’s northern towns of Gao and Timbuktu. According to WFP, the number of beneficiaries is expected to reach an estimated 145,000 in both cities. However, it is still not possible to figure out the humanitarian situation in some northern areas of the West African country, WFP said. The UN organization further said around 70 percent of families are reportedly struggling to provide food for themselves in other areas in central Mali, including the town of Mopti located in the Inner Niger Delta region. According to other reports, the roads near the city of Timbuktu have remained insecure and food shortages have, therefore, gripped the city after French-led forces said they drove the fighters out and retook the city in January. Around 4,000 French troops have been deployed to Mali since France launched the war on January 11 under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters who had taken control of northern Mali. The war has caused a serious humanitarian crisis in northern areas of Mali and has displaced thousands of people who now live in deplorable conditions. Some political analysts believe that Mali’s abundant natural resources, including gold and uranium reserves, could be one of the reasons behind the French war on the African country. MKA/HGH/SL
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