US Ambassador in Mali Mary Beth Leonard (right) and WFP Mali Country Director Nancy Walters (left) stand with a nursing woman who has just received enriched porridge as they visit blanket feeding nutrition activities in the Goumera-Region of Kayes. WFP / Daouda Guirou
The US Ambassador in Mali visited WFP activities in the Kayes region of Mali, where around 300,000 people are at risk of food insecurity.
KAYES - On 31 May, the US Ambassador in Mali, Mary Beth Leonard, along with the USAID Director and WFP Mali Country Director, visited WFP activities in Kayes, a region severely hit by the recent drought.
Kayes is experiencing a serious food deficit of about 172,000 metric tons following the last poor harvest and about 300,000 people are at risk of food insecurity in the region.
With its total contribution of US$17.6 million, the US is the main donor to WFP's emergency operation for the drought-affected population in Mali. This donation includes 6,000 metric tons of rice, of which 2,400 metric tons were sent to Kayes for assistance for the most food-insecure people in the region.
“The arrival of 6,000 metric tons of rice from the US came at a crucial time," said WFP Mali Country Director Nancy Walters. "It will enable WFP to preposition food before the rains make some of the country very difficult to reach."
Targeted food and cash distributions will address the immediate food needs but also enable populations to focus on the planting season without worrying about their basic food needs.
This year, WFP and its partners launched a regional response aiming to provide food assistance to more than 9 million people affected by the drought in the Sahel, of which 1.3 million are in Mali.
In Mali, WFP plans to assist some 650,000 people in May and June through targeted food distributions, nutrition support and asset-creation activities.