In response to the escalating humanitarian crisis in Mali's central Mopti region, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has launched an emergency intervention to address the urgent needs of displaced families. Since mid-May, hundreds of families have been fleeing the blockaded village of Boni. 

The village of Boni in the Mopti region has been under blockade for over a year, restricting the residents’ movement and access to supplies, worsening food insecurity and causing widespread suffering. Families, mostly women and children, undertook dangerous journeys to Douentza in May, resulting in several deaths from thirst and exhaustion.

In collaboration with the mayor’s office and the local social development department, the IRC launched an emergency response on June 12 in Douentza. 58 families identified with high protection needs received emergency assistance items, including clothes, torches, kettles and soap, provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and its Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance. 

Matias Meier, Country Director for the IRC in Mali, said:

“This intervention underscores our commitment to addressing the immediate humanitarian needs of those affected by the crisis. The residents of Boni have been cut off from everything. Continued and enhanced access to humanitarian aid is essential as we face worsening conditions every single day. 

Funding support for Mali is overall decreasing, while needs continue increasing, with more people in need, and people falling further into more severe conditions, often leading to deaths, as we’ve seen lately in the zones between Boni and Douentza. This is not the time to leave the most vulnerable, but to be engaged more than ever for the most vulnerable populations - concentrating our focus on their needs and on solidarity.” 

Djeneba Dicko, Mayor of the Haïre commune in the Douentza region, herself displaced in Douentza town, said: 

“I’ve been impressed by the speed of the assistance that the IRC provided to my displaced persons on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. This assistance was beneficial because the IDPs left Boni without taking anything with them. 

The fabric, blankets, shoes, buckets and mats gave the displaced people a bit of dignity, and with the onset of the rainy season, they will need support in the form of shelters to protect themselves against the elements.”

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, with its main office in Bamako, the IRC focuses its efforts on Nara, Youwarou, Douentza, Gao, and Ménaka by providing emergency relief, supporting village savings and loan associations, and providing water, sanitation, hygiene, and health services, amongst various other actions.