Tens of thousands of people have fled northern Mali as Islamist militants tighten their grip over the vast desert region. Those who remain face an increasingly desperate humanitarian situation with little access to food, clean water and medicine. The International Rescue Committee and international relief organizations, meanwhile, are struggling to deliver vital aid to suffering Malian civilians.
Over 450,000 people have fled the north since the Islamist takeover and another half-million people inside the country are in need of immediate assistance according to the United Nations and international aid organizations.
“The situation in the north of the country is becoming more and more alarming,” said Tasha Gill, who directs the IRC’s aid programs in Mali. “Basic services like health centers, water points and schools have stopped functioning. And although food can be found at the market now, many simply cannot afford to buy it. A perfect storm is brewing and thousands need humanitarian assistance.”
5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
Editor's Note: José Andrés is an internationally acclaimed chef. Among his accolades, he was named "Outstanding Chef" by the James Beard Foundation in 2011 and one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World" in 2012 by TIME Magazine. Tomorrow, he will be in Iowa at the World Food Prize participating in discussions on food security as part of the Borlaug Dialogue. The dialogues are named after Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug, who spent his life working to find solutions to feed hungry people across the world.
“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are,” might be Brillat-Savarin’s most famous quote, but something else he said that I find more powerful is: “The future of nations will depend on the manner in which they feed themselves.”
Today, on World Food Day, I think that statement has an even truer meaning and urges us to look around at our world and the importance of food. And why would words like this have such a profound impact on me, a chef? Chefs - all of us - feed the few, in our restaurants and at special events, but I believe we have the power and responsibility to help feed the many.
Miranda Lynch believes a vegetable garden has the power to revolutionize a community.
It's the idea behind of Isipho, the nonprofit organization Lynch conceived when she was just 12 years old. It all started in 2008 when her father, Tom, won a trip to South Africa at an auction.
The father-daughter adventure began with a stay on a wild game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal. Assuming it would be the only time he and his daughter would set foot in South Africa, Tom wanted Miranda to see more than the commercialized landscape of the reserve.
"It was important, as she was turning 13 that year, for her to see that the world that she knew was not the entire world," Tom says.
A week after Mohammed was born, he was abandoned by his parents and left in the care of an aunt who was already struggling to raise nine children.
“Milk is expensive and it is very hard to feed them all,” the aunt, Assetou Diallo, said as she sat in front of her home, a one-room shack next to a busy dirt road on the outskirts of the Malian capital of Bamako.
This year has been particularly difficult, the 35-year-old said. The drought killed the family’s modest crops, grown in a small garden nest to the house, and the price of food has skyrocketed.
Deborah Feyerick is a CNN correspondent. See part one of this series Witnesses to Hunger: A portrait of food insecurity in America and read producer Sheila Steffen's $30 grocery challenge
Six-year-old Juvens Lewis jumps on the scale, his tiny body lost in a flowing hospital gown. He weighs in at 37.2 pounds, the size of an average 4-year-old. Giggling, he heads back to his examining room as sounds of children filter into the busy hallway. All are getting check-ups at Boston Medical Center’s Grow Clinic, which treats underweight and malnourished kids.
“People think about acute malnutrition and they may look at Somalia. What we see is chronic malnutrition, stunted growth, kids that are the size of a 1-year-old when they’re 2 years old,” says Dr. Megan Sandel who treats Juvens adding, “They’re not going to be able to make up for that for the rest of their lives.”
The heat inside the small medical clinic is stifling. An occasional breeze from an open window provides the only relief. A dozen lethargic children, their ribs exposed and twig-like arms outstretched, lay on beds covered by mosquito nets.
I accompany Keita Cheick Oumar, a doctor with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), as he checks on patients in a health clinic located in the densely populated Kati district, near the Malian capital of Bamako. Kati district has been hard hit by Mali’s deepening hunger crisis and as elsewhere in the country the crisis is having an especially devastating impact on children.
Editor's note: Actress Mia Farrow has traveled extensively as an ambassador for UNICEF, including trips to Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, South Sudan and Uganda, and has been active in the organization for more than 12 years. Farrow starred in the film "Rosemary's Baby" and has appeared in many other films, including "The Great Gatsby," "Death on the Nile" and "Hannah and Her Sisters."
Throughout my travels with UNICEF - from Angola, to Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Sudan and Uganda - I have met countless young girls and boys whose bodies and minds have been permanently damaged because they were malnourished during the first 1,000 days of their lives.
While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
On October 16, Eatocracy will be joining the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to end hunger on World Food Day.
There are an estimated 900 million hungry people in the world today, and according to the USDA, 50 million people, or 16.6 percent of Americans, live in households at risk of hunger.