02/11/2013: Over the past year the political situation in Mali has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled fighting in the North and some 230,000 people are estimated to be displaced.
A child from Bamako, Mali. Photo courtesy of Mr. Jens Honore.
Prior to French military operations began in January, over 2 million people were already threatened by food insecurity in Mali, including 510,000 people in urgent need of food assistance. Now that number is even higher. According to humanitarian agencies estimate that since the conflict 660,000 children have been put at severe risk of malnutrition. Around 1.5 million people are under threat of epidemics caused by a lack of water facilities and sanitation.
The overall situation in Mali has worsened due to the armed conflict in the northern part of the country. In a region where drought, failed harvests, a lack of infrastructure and chronic poverty make survival an everyday battle, the displaced population from the north makes for more mouths to feed than can be fed.
Humanitarian Aid Essential for Malians
“We need to prepare now for what comes after the war, by creating conditions that will make it easier for economic activities to pick up where they left off, conditions that cannot be created without first responding adequately to humanitarian, nutritional and security needs first” says Ibrahima Bane, director of SOS Children’s Villages Mali.
Many people from the north have been stranded in Mopti, some 400 miles northeast of the capital of Bamako. “More than 4,000 displaced families currently live in deplorable conditions and lack food, water and basic sanitation” says Bane.
An SOS Mother from Bamako, Mali. Photo courtesy of Mr. Jens Honore.
There is an SOS Children’s Village in Mopti with support programs for families, a school and a kindergarten. However, SOS Families had to be moved in April of last year due to serious security concerns. Fortunately, the other facilities stayed open in spite of the war raging on just a few miles away.
SOS Extending its Reach to Help More People
In the weeks to come, SOS Children’s Villages is planning to initiate emergency relief measures in Mopti and the surrounding communities there. Food rations, drinking water, malnutrition programs for children and pregnant women, care for unaccompanied children, improved sanitation and psychological assistance for traumatized children will all be provided to Malian families by SOS Children’s Villages.
"You could say that everything is back to normal at the moment, but the serious psychological damage that is caused by witnessing armed conflict and the never-ending streams of displaced people arriving all day, every day, is tangible in the community. We’re needed now more than ever” adds Bane.
The estimated cost of the project is Mali is 1.3 million dollars. While this goal is large, SOS Children’s Villages is determined to meet the needs of Malian children and families to help them on their road to recovery.
Donate to SOS Children’s Villages today or sponsor a child in Mali to be a part of the solution to hunger, malnutrition and displacement in Mali.