Aid groups warn of looming food crisis in northern Mali because of poor harvests, instability

Humanitarian groups are warning that northern Mali soon could be facing a serious food crisis unless more money is raised.

The agencies warned Friday that more than 800,000 people need immediate food aid and some 3 million people nationwide are at risk.

Speaking for 11 international aid agencies, Franck Vannetelle, director of Action Against Hunger in Mali, said the number of vulnerable people facing a new food crisis "is likely to double if the needs identified are not met quickly."

Aid experts say the looming food crisis is the result of poor harvests and the instability wracked by the 2013 French-led war to oust Islamic extremists from power in the north.

During the rule of al-Qaida and other extremist groups in northern Mali, hundreds of thousands of Malians were displaced.