News / Africa

    UN: Mali Faces Deepening Humanitarian Crisis

    FILE - Men transport humanitarian food aid onto trucks in Sevare, Feb. 4, 2013. FILE - Men transport humanitarian food aid onto trucks in Sevare, Feb. 4, 2013.
    x
    FILE - Men transport humanitarian food aid onto trucks in Sevare, Feb. 4, 2013.
    FILE - Men transport humanitarian food aid onto trucks in Sevare, Feb. 4, 2013.
    Jennifer Lazuta
    The UN humanitarian coordinator for Mali says the country is in a deepening state of humanitarian crisis, with an additional 400,000 people expected to face food-insecurity by June.

    Humanitarian assistance is drastically underfunded and the return of refugees who fled the conflict in 2012 and 2013 is making things worse.

    The United Nations says 1.4 million people in Mali are currently in need of food assistance. This is up from 812,000 people in December 2013 and could rise to 1.9 million by June, as the lean season sets in.

    Late and erratic rains last year, combined with ongoing conflict in the north of the country, meant poor crop harvests throughout much of the country. This has meant that the food stocks of many families are diminished.

    “Mali continues to face very important humanitarian challenges in 2014," said David Gressly, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Mali. "People have just gone through a very, very difficult time, particularly in the north, with the conflict, with the occupation. People are even more vulnerable than normal because of all of this…We’re seeing, in particular, on the food side, continued food insecurity. So we’re quite concerned.”

    Gressly said that an estimated half-million children under the age of five in Mali will suffer from moderate to severe malnutrition this year and 136,000 children will be severely malnourished. He said Mali could see a spike in its child mortality rate if these cases are left untreated.

    There is also concern among humanitarian workers that the food security situation could further deteriorate as those displaced by the conflict return home.

    “We’re seeing increasing numbers of refugees coming home," said Gressly. "Half the IDPs have come home. That puts an additional burden on local communities as the numbers increase. It will take a while before those who are coming home can also contribute to production. The agricultural campaign is just now starting. So they can start, but we won’t see any output from that until the end of the year.”

    The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that nearly 200,000 internally displaced people, or IDPs, and refugees who fled to neighboring Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso, returned to the north between December and March.  

    Gressly said there could be an acceleration of that return in coming months, particularly if progress is made with ongoing peace discussions.

    To help ease the burden of food insecurity in the country, Mali’s government pledged to contribute 34,000 tons of cereal to food aid efforts this year.

    Gressly said that this is quite a significant contribution, but is not enough.

    OCHA reports that $568 million is needed to provide humanitarian assistance, including food aid, in Mali in 2014.  As of the end of March, donors had only funded around 10 percent, or $56 million, of this amount.

    Gressly said that this lack of funding is quite worrying.

    “It’s unfortunate, but there are many crises around the world right now - in South Sudan, Central African Republic, Syria, etc. - which seem to be drawing the resources that are also needed in places like Mali," said Gressly. "And the problem I see with that, not only the humanitarian impact, but if you look at the overall needs of Mali, trying to stabilize after the conflict of 2012, insufficient humanitarian assistance actually has a destabilizing impact as well.”

    Gressly said many organizations, including the World Food Program, have begun rationing their already limited resources. They hope to buy some time until more funding comes in.

    He said the U.N. is now trying to raise additional money by advising donors that there is still a significant and pressing need for humanitarian assistance in Mali.

    You May Like

    Video Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Tomasi
    April 12, 2014 2:30 PM
    Please remember those people in Zimbabwe, further South. They seem to be forgotten David Gressly.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.