(Bamako, 31 August 2018): At the end of her four-day mission in Mali, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ursula Mueller raised concerns about the violence affecting civilians and insufficient funding for the response to growing humanitarian needs in the country.
“An immediate scale-up of the humanitarian response is required to alleviate the suffering of thousands of forcibly displaced people and millions of Malians affected by food insecurity and malnutrition,” said Ms. Mueller. “I am concerned by the recent surge in humanitarian needs. Today, one out of four people require humanitarian assistance.”
The humanitarian situation in Mali has significantly deteriorated over the past year due to increasing conflict and intercommunal clashes in the northern and central regions, as well as a poor rainy season in 2017. This year, about 5.2 million people require humanitarian assistance, up from 3.8 million in 2017. “The level of needs is higher than at any point since the beginning of the security crisis in 2012,” Ms. Mueller said.
Since January 2018, the number of internally displaced people has almost doubled to 75,000 in conflict-affected areas, mostly in and around the central region of Mopti.
Levels of food insecurity are the highest in years. 4.6 million people are food insecure during the current lean season, which lasts until August. Up to 274,000 people are at risk of severe acute malnutrition. Without the scaling up of the current response, the nutrition and food security crisis will further deteriorate.
Ms. Mueller traveled to Bankass, in Mopti region, where she met and listened to people recently displaced following violent inter-communal clashes. Over 1,400 internally displaced people are staying in informal sites or with host families. “The displaced people I met in Bankass told me what they need most is food, security, protection and peace,” said Ms. Mueller. Mopti currently hosts more than 12,000 internally displaced people, up from 2,000 people in April.
During the mission, Ms. Mueller met with Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga, Minister for Solidarity and Humanitarian Action, Hamadoun Konaté and other government officials. She also held met with representatives and staff of the United Nations and non-governmental organisations, and the diplomatic community.
Funding for the humanitarian response in Mali has steadily decreased in recent years, while the number of people in need has increased. The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan has only received $106 million, or 32 per cent, of the US$330 million required to assist 2.9 million people. “I thank donors who have generously contributed, but we need more funding to be able to provide a timely, at-scale and appropriate humanitarian response,” concluded Ms. Mueller.
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