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Patiently waiting for food aid in Bamako, Mali | by DFID - UK Department for International Development
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Patiently waiting for food aid in Bamako, Mali

Hawa Maiga, 45, is just one of thousands of people that are currently internally displaced within Mali. She sits patiently with around 100 other men, women and children, at a WFP-organised food distribution site in central Bamako.


Her husband died a few years ago, so she is now the head of a family of 22, including her children, her sister's family and other relatives. Although she can just about manage to pay rent, water and electricity thanks to her late husband's small pension, she would struggle to feed all these mouths as well. UK aid, through the World Food Programme (WFP) is enabling Hawa and thousands more to survive the very real affects brought on by Mali’s conflict.


Hawa comes from Gao, one of Mali’s northern towns that has been acutely affected by conflict in recent times. Even in February this year, violent clashes occurred between rebel fighters and French and Malian forces, making life in Gao unbearable.


“I really want to return to my home but I cannot. Fighting is continuing, even to this day - it is too dangerous. The protection of my loved ones is my only priority.”


Britain was one of the first countries to respond directly to the recent escalation in violence, and is supporting tried and trusted humanitarian agencies to provide food, urgent medicine and clean water inside Mali, as well as provide a comprehensive package of support to refugees in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger.


Photo: Derek Markwell/DFID

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Taken on February 18, 2013