The level of needs is higher than at any point since 2012, with an overall total of around 7.5 million Malians in need of assistance, according to UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, briefing journalists in New York.
“The past year was characterized by a deterioration in the humanitarian situation due to growing insecurity in the central region of the country”, he said, adding that “the security crisis is now expanding to the southern region.”
The Malian Government has been seeking to restore stability following a series of setbacks since early 2012, including a failed military coup d’état, renewed fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels, and the seizure of much of the territory in the north and central regions, by radical extremists.
The removal from power of the sitting president in 2020 was followed by a coup in May last year, and a further military coup in August. Briefing the Security Council last month, the UN Special Representative who heads the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, reported that “insecurity has expanded, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated, more children are of out of school and the country has been affected by an endless cycle of instability.”
Close to 2 million food insecure
More than 1.8 million people are expected to need food assistance in 2022 compared to 1.3 million in 2021, the highest level of food insecurity recorded since 2014.
Mr. Dujarric said that violence and climate shocks were key factors driving the increased number of people facing severe food shortages, some 51 per cent more than in 2021.
Civilian casualties climb
Civilian casualties also sharply increased in northern and central Mali last year, he added, “with civilians increasingly the target of violent attacks by armed groups, increased intercommunal violence and the risks posed by improvised explosive devices.”
Mali was one of the 10 least funded Humanitarian Response Plans in 202, he said.
“Despite mounting challenges, aid workers and organizations have stayed and are delivering. Humanitarian organizations reached more than 2.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance last year.”