News / Africa

Humanitarian Situation Remains Fragile in Mali

FILE - A boy who fled northern Mali is seen at a camp for internally displaced persons, about 620 kilometers north of Bamako, in the city of Sevare, Mali.
FILE - A boy who fled northern Mali is seen at a camp for internally displaced persons, about 620 kilometers north of Bamako, in the city of Sevare, Mali.
Lisa Schlein
The United Nations says conditions for hundreds of thousands of people in Mali continues to be fragile despite improvements in the security situation and better access to vulnerable people by aid agencies. The U.N. is appealing for $569 million to provide food, medical care and other life-saving assistance to millions of Malians emerging from years of conflict.

 The United Nations reports that over the past year, Mali has gone through an extraordinary change. It says general security throughout the country improved enormously after the intervention of French and African forces in the conflict-ridden North.

Despite these changes for the better, it says millions of people continue to be in desperate need of assistance.  

U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator for Mali, David Gressly, said 800,000 people currently are suffering from severe food shortages and that figure is expected to rise to 1.3 million later in the year.

He notes lack of rain last year has produced a bad harvest. As a consequence, he said the so-called hunger season -- the period when people have run out of food stocks and can no longer cope -- is expected to start much earlier this year, perhaps by March or April.

Gressly said tens of thousands of malnourished children could die if they do not receive appropriate help in a timely manner.

“These children are truly in a very difficult situation. Treatment costs about $100 to save that life. It is not expensive and we can probably save, as I mentioned, about 50,000 lives this year.  Nobody will notice if they die.  I can tell you that right now because they will just die in peoples’ homes and these children.  But, they will still die.”

Gressly says there is no war going on in Mali right now. Localized attacks, basic criminality and banditry, however, are creating instability and insecurity.  

Islamist militants linked to al-Qaida sidelined the Tuareg rebellion against the government in 2012 and took over the region. French forces succeeded in ousting them. These militant groups remain in the north, though, and mount sporadic attacks against military installations.

Humanitarian coordinator Gressly said they do not pose much of a threat to the local population. But he said the general insecurity is discouraging internally displaced and refugee populations from returning to their homes.

“Of the 217,000 estimated IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons] in Mali, 60 percent of them are estimated to be in the north.  So, they are back in their regions, but they have not gone back to their home locations largely because of concerns over insecurity.  The same is true for refugee movements,” said Gressly.

As in the case with IDPs, Gressly said refugees are inhibited from returning home because of fear of insecurity and retribution. He said that only about 15,000 of the 168,000 refugees who have sought asylum in neighboring countries have returned to Mali.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid