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 Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More