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Commissioner Georgieva returns to Mali to assess humanitarian needs, announces boost in EU aid

Kristalina Georgieva
22/01/2013  - 

The European Commission is again boosting its humanitarian aid for the Mali crisis with an additional €20 million – a needed increase that will help respond to the worsening situation in the country where large numbers of people are fleeing from the conflict and thousands of children are severely malnourished.

Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva is in Mali now, returning after her last visit a month ago. She is assessing the situation to determine how Europe's aid can be spent to reach maximum impact. She said: "Since last year, the Malian people have been hit by a triple-crisis: first a drought and crops failure, followed by a political crisis and then the outbreak of fighting when Islamist radical groups took control of the north.

"By acting early and coordinating the international response we were able to avert the worst effects of the food crisis, here and in the rest of the Sahel, bringing relief to some 18 million people". "However, the increasing impact of violence and fighting in the north has forced more than 350,000 people to flee to the south and to neighbouring countries causing massive humanitarian needs. Last December, we increased our response by 20 million euros to support the operations of humanitarian partners in Mali and in neighbouring countries whom I met during my visit in Bamako. But since then the situation has further deteriorated with conflicts between Islamist forces and the Malian army moving closer to the South, resulting in additional needs. We have therefore mobilised a further 20 million euros to meet the increased humanitarian vulnerability".

"I appeal to other donors to act swiftly as the populations have been weakened by months of hardship. I also appeal to all parties to ensure the protection of civilians and the respect for international humanitarian law".

The new emergency funding will be used to help severely malnourished children, to assist about 100,000 refugees from Mali in neighbouring countries, and to provide up to 150,000 people in Mali affected by the ongoing fighting with food and basic services.