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Mali: a crisis within a crisis

Mali is the scene of a significant humanitarian emergency. In 2012 the country was hit by a triple crisis: hunger, political crisis and ever-worsening conflict in the North. This forced thousands to leave their homes and try to survive as either internally displaced people (292 thousand Malians) or as refugees in neighbouring countries (177 thousand Malians).

Map: Situation in Mali

[Click here to enlarge the map pdf - 338 KB [338 KB] ]

Amidst intensive fighting and the looming new dry season, the humanitarian situation remains volatile. More than 4 million Malians are still exposed to food insecurity and food is unaffordably expensive to the poorest. Severe malnutrition rates are above emergency thresholds. The continuing population displacements and the restricted access of humanitarian workers to certain areas are other reasons for concern.

A large-scale emergency response is needed to address the additional needs arising from the conflict and to limit the death toll caused by malnutrition. Mali’s health system is in dire straits. Less than a third of children under five who suffered from severe acute malnutrition in 2012 received treatment whereas health facilities in the north lacked malaria drugs to treat numerous and severe cases. Tens of thousands of children’s lives were most probably lost due to the combination of acute malnutrition and malaria. In 2013, the priority will be to provide life-saving treatment to as many severely malnourished children as possible despite extremely challenging conditions.

Photo credits: EC/ECHO/Anouk Delafortrie

Europe's substantial response to the crises in Mali - €115 million since last year from the European Commission's humanitarian budget- has enabled aid workers to keep the lifeline of basic health and nutrition services, clean water, shelter and food for some of the most affected and vulnerable people, both inside Mali and in neighbouring countries where Malian refugees reside.

Inside Mali, the Commission focuses its support on help to the people displaced by the fighting and to those most affected by the food and nutrition crisis. Preventing and curing children malnutrition is a big priority.

In neighbouring countries (Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso) the Commission is funding humanitarian aid for the Malian refugees and their host communities, such as shelter, food, vaccination, water, sanitation and education.

The European Commission is fully engaged in helping Mali – both in the field and on the international arena. The Commission has a humanitarian office in Bamako and its experts coordinate closely with partners. Commissioner Georgieva has visited Mali twice in the last year and is working closely with other senior international figures to make sure that the humanitarian side of Mali's crisis remains high on the global agenda.

The European Commission has pledged a long-term commitment to helping solve Mali's food insecurity and disaster risk problems. In 2012 the Commission launched the AGIR-Sahel initiative which will help Mali and its Sahel neighbours to build the resilience of people most vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition.