DAKAR - The United Nations appealed on Wednesday for more than
$1 billion to help feed 11 million people at risk across Africa's arid Sahel
belt, warning that the crisis in Syria was distracting donors from the
humanitarian situation there.
The UN. Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that this year's war in northern Mali, where a
French-led military campaign destroyed an Islamist enclave, had worsened annual
food shortages across the region.
Some 175,000 Malian refugees are camped
in neighboring Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger, placing strain on scant food
supplies. A further 353,000 people are displaced within Mali itself, having
abandoned their homes and livelihoods.