Fighting increases humanitarian needs in areas with limited access

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 18 Jan 2013

(Bamako, 18 January 2013): Ongoing military operations in northern and central Mali have caused the humanitarian situation to deteriorate, leading to the displacement of at least 10,000 people in just one week. Humanitarian actors have raised serious concerns about the conditions of people in northern and central Mali, where access is still limited.

“The United Nations system reiterates its support to the Government of Mali at this moment, when everyone’s solidarity is necessary to alleviate the suffering of people affected by the crisis. However, to enable rapid response to people in need, it is crucial to ensure the safety of the humanitarian space,” said Mr. Aurélien Agbenonci, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Mali.

Before the recent armed activities began on 10 January, more than 2 million people were at risk of food insecurity in Mali. They included 510,000 people in immediate need of food and 1 million people at risk of food insecurity in northern regions. According to humanitarian actors, 660,000 children are now at risk of acute malnutrition and more than 200,000 people are internally displaced. About 1.5 million people are at risk of epidemics due to weak water and-sanitation facilities. Additional humanitarian needs related to the current context will increase the vulnerability of people already struggling to survive.

Due to security reasons, the humanitarian actors who were intervening in the northern regions and in Mopti have either temporarily relocated their staff to safer areas or reduced their activities in the field. However, the humanitarian situation will deteriorate if actions to restore the provision of vital assistance are not carried out immediately.

“The respect of the rights and the dignity of civilians are among the key elements that need to be preserved in the current context. Civilians should be protected in line with the International Humanitarian Law,” added Mr. Agbenonci.

Humanitarian actors in Mali are seeking US$370 million in 2013 through the Consolidated Appeal Process for programmes to help more than 4.6 million people. So far, only $2 million (less than 1 per cent) has been secured. If necessary, the appeal will be revised to take into account additional identified needs.

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