Hundreds of Thousands at Risk as Conflict Threatens Food Security across Mali

An escalating conflict displaces 380,000 people and threatens wider consequences across the country
Vulnerable populations adjust to new insecurity in Mali.
Populations across Mali are subject to threats to the food supply as the conflict rages in central Mali

The growing conflict in northern Mali has caused widespread insecurity, displacement, and disruptions, including the suspension of vital humanitarian efforts across the region of Gao as Action Against Hunger is forced to place existing programs on hold, warning that the latest clashes were undermining already vulnerable communities across the region.

“This new phase in the conflict is only adding to the population’s fragility. But we fear the worst is yet to come in the Spring, when these communities will be between harvests, having exhausted their food reserves. For now, we have been forced to suspend our projects in the region of Gao, as was the hospital where we were treating malnourished children.”

–Vincent Stehli, Director of Operations, Action Against Hunger

Despite suspending programs in the region of Gao, Action Against Hunger continues to administer humanitarian programs across the regions of Kita, Koulikoro and Bamako, even as the violence affects the rest of the country, forcing some 150,000 people across Mali’s borders and another 230,000 into neighboring regions.

“While media attention and the international community are focused on the conflict in central and northern Mali, the impact has been dramatic on the rest of the country as well, where communities were already isolated and living in extremely precarious conditions. As the conflict disrupts transportation routes, regions across Mali are facing threats to their food supplies.”

–Franck Vanetelle, Country Director, Action Against Hunger – Mali

Action Against Hunger will continue to monitor the flow of refugees and displaced families in the coming weeks, tracking populations as they cross into Mauritania or flee central Mali for adjacent regions. The agency calls on all parties to grant humanitarians free and direct access to vulnerable populations caught up in the conflict.

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Mali is reeling as geopolitical forces converge with local insurgencies, imported extremism, and a military intervention by Western powers – all while climate shocks and food insecurity affect the Sahel. Can humanitarians be effective under such conditions?

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About James Phelan

James is Action Against Hunger's Deputy Director for External Relations, keeping an eye on global events and program developments.