8.8 million people, approximately 40% of Mali’s total population is in need of humanitarian assistance across the country
Over 2,500 people facing famine like conditions in Menaka (IPC phase 5)
76,000 people experiencing emergency levels of hunger in Menaka (IPC phase 4)
30,000 people fled their homes in August alone from Timbuktu and Toudeni both within Mali and towards Mauritania
200,000 children at risk of starvation in Mali
12 September 2023 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is warning of the grave humanitarian consequences if urgent attention is not paid to the deteriorating hunger and humanitarian crises in various parts of Mali, especially in the Menaka and Timbuktu regions. Climate change, ongoing violence in parts of the country and economic shocks have resulted in a significant increase in malnutrition and displacement across the country. Already, over 2,500 people are living in famine-like conditions meaning people are starving to death every day due to an extreme lack of food. In these areas, people are now eating so infrequently that they are in physical pain from hunger. Moreover, in the first quarter of 2023, Mali recorded more than 375,000 internally displaced people, surpassing the peak observed in 2013 during the height of the armed conflict.
Matias Meier, IRC Mali Country Director, said:
"The humanitarian situation in Mali continues to worsen, with over 8.8 million people in need of assistance this year, marking a 17.3% increase from 2022. The IRC is working at the forefront of this crisis, providing essential support to the communities hardest hit by this crisis in Mali and the central Sahel in general.
“One of our major concerns is the limited access to areas where urgent needs persist. Recent disruptions to flights; the sole means of delivering crucial aid, including food and medicine to certain regions in the north and center of Mali, further exacerbate the crisis.
“Earlier this month, the humanitarian community raised alarms about the escalating malnutrition crisis among children. Without immediate aid, nearly one million children under the age of 5 could face severe hunger by December 2023, with at least 200,000 at risk of starvation. This crisis is unfolding against a backdrop of increasing internal displacement and restricted humanitarian access.
"With the ongoing situation in Timbuktu people are facing increasing difficulties and are calling for help. We have been alerted to a growing shortage of supplies, food, and fuel in the region. In August 2023 alone, more than 30,000 people (over 6,000 households) have been preventively displaced across the regions of Tombouctou, Taoudeni, and toward neighbouring countries. It's a dire humanitarian situation."
Swift humanitarian action is needed to address the urgent crisis unfolding in Mali. As year-end approaches, only 21% of Mali’s humanitarian response plan (HRP) has been funded, leaving millions of people in Mali in precarious conditions. In addition to closing this funding gap, the IRC calls for the international community to prioritise streamlining the approach to tackling child malnutrition in fragile and conflict-affected settings to avoid widespread loss of life and livelihoods. The lack of a strong international response in Mali will lead to more people dying, including children.
Faced with these challenges, the IRC continues its emergency assistance to the increasing number of internally displaced people in Northern and Central Mali. From May 2022 to date, IRC has supported more than 9,000 households who have fled their homes due to the crisis. Our nutrition programmes in Mali have received and treated over 23,000 malnourished children under the age of 5 in 2022, compared to over 17,000 in 2021. The figures continue to grow. We are also conducting additional activities in response to the nutritional and food crisis in several regions such as Menaka, Gao, and Nara. These actions must continue and be extended to other regions to prevent a more dramatic food crisis in Mali.
Since 2012, the IRC has provided critical assistance to more than two million Malians displaced by conflict and facing severe food shortages in the areas of health-nutrition, economic recovery and development, education, water, hygiene and sanitation, protection and governance. To help the country recover, the IRC is focusing our efforts in the regions of Ménaka, Gao, Douentza, Mopti and Nara by providing emergency relief; supporting village savings and loan associations; providing water, hygiene, and sanitation services as well as health services.