Islamic Relief launches appeal and steps up response
Thousands of people in Mali are in urgent need of aid after fleeing a spike in airstrikes and clashes between armed groups.
Islamic Relief aid workers on the ground say that food supplies are running out and some of the displaced families have not eaten for days. Children are at high risk of malnutrition.
More than 10,000 people have fled their homes in the Timbuktu and Mopti regions of central Mali, and many more are expected to flee in the coming weeks.
Islamic Relief is launching a £1 million ($1.36 million) appeal to raise funds to provide emergency aid. Islamic Relief teams have already distributed food parcels and plan to distribute shelter and other essential items – but more is urgently needed.
A new joint assessment by Islamic Relief and other humanitarian actors found critical shortages of food, shelter and water among the newly displaced. In Gossi, where between 4-5,000 people have fled, almost all have no food stocks left. 81 per cent of the people we spoke to are eating just one meal a day. More than half (56 per cent) do not have access to clean drinking water, putting them at risk of water-borne disease. This creates extra risks for women and girls who have to walk several miles to try and collect safe water and are exposed to the danger of attacks on the way.
Moussa Traore, Islamic Relief’s Country Director in Mali, said:
“There is a severe food shortage. Some families haven’t eaten for days and we’ve started to see malnutrition cases among children. People are stuck in dire conditions, sleeping outside in the open air or in makeshift tents which they’ve made from a few old clothes. At night there are strong winds and the temperature drops dramatically, putting people at risk of pneumonia. We’ve started seeing an increase in malaria cases because of the living conditions and we’re concerned about a potential outbreak.
“Most of the people who have been displaced are nomads. They’ve lost their homes, their livestock and their livelihoods when they fled. Water is a scarce resource and there is not enough for the locals already – now the increased demand is putting more pressure on the limited resources.”
The most recent displacement is focused around the northern Mali areas of Haribomo, Gossi and the Bambara Maoude communes within the Region of Timbuktu, Circle of Gourma Rharous.
Last week the UN warned that more than 2 million people are now displaced across the Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger
Islamic Relief has been working in Haribimo and Gossi for more than 20 years.