Humanitarian Crisis in Mali

Men, women and children wait near poaches and buckets of food. © ©World Food Program/Daouda Guirou

The conflict in northern Mali, which began in January 2012, continues to result in civilian casualties. A number of displaced persons have not yet returned home, even though much of the territory was retaken from rebel groups during the military intervention launched by French and Malian forces in January 2013. Some 229 556 people continue to be displaced by the violence, including over 86,026 people within Mali and approximately 143,530 people who have sought refuge in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania. Military operations, mine incidents and violence by armed groups continue to create a highly volatile security situation in the north, which jeopardizes humanitarian workers’ ability to access people in need.

The ongoing insecurity has also affected household food security, as markets have been disrupted and people have lost their livelihoods. Moreover, the most affected households, especially those that remain displaced within the country, were already vulnerable because of the 2012-2013 food and nutrition crisis. The United Nations has indicated that 2.1 million people in Mali are currently affected by food insecurity, 1.5 million of whom require immediate food assistance.

Refugees and vulnerable displaced populations in Mali rely heavily on humanitarian agencies to meet their most basic needs, including food, shelter, safe drinking water, sanitation and access to medical care. Those who are most vulnerable are concentrated mainly in the northern regions that are affected by the conflict—Tombouctou, Gao and Kidal—but displaced persons who live in urban zones in the south are also among those who have been identified as being the most vulnerable and are in need of immediate assistance.

Canada continues to respond to humanitarian needs in Mali, especially those of the people living in northern regions, where the effects of the conflict and of the food crisis are still being felt.