Two Malian girls watch over their severely malnourished brother in a refugee camp in Mbera, western Mauritania.
08/12/2012 - The European Commission intends to increase its humanitarian response to the crisis in Mali by €20 million to address the increasing humanitarian needs in the country which are compounded by the conflict in the north of the country. The conflict has now forced 400,000 people to flee their homes while the on-going food crisis has caused an estimated 560,000 Malian children to suffer from acute malnutrition this year. The communities who are hosting those displaced by the conflict, already vulnerable because of the food crises, are struggling to cope and are also in need of assistance.
Pending the final decision of the European Union's Budgetary Authorities this additional funding, would bring the EU's humanitarian support to Mali this year to €101 million. This funding would increase the humanitarian response to all parts of Mali, particularly in the north, and help address needs in the areas of food assistance, water and sanitation, shelter, health and protection. It would aim to reach all affected by the conflict both within Mali, north and south, and in neighbouring countries where Malian refugees have arrived.
Mali has the second highest infant mortality rate in the world, after Somalia, with malnutrition being one of the biggest related causes of this high death toll. While over half a million Malian children suffered from acute malnutrition this year, there is now cautious hope that a reasonably good harvest will be saved in the coming weeks, however the prices of many staple foods are likely to remain so high that the poorest segments of Mali's society will remain locked out of the market and in need of food assistance for many months to come. These high prices are in large part due to the negative impact and restrictions to movement, that the conflict has had on local markets and supply routes.