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Islamic Relief calls for international action as extent of humanitarian crisis in northern Mali becomes clear

Islamic Relief calls for international action as extent of humanitarian crisis in northern Mali becomes clear

Mali: An Ongoing Crisis says that the 18-month-old conflict – which began with attacks by separatist insurgents, followed by a military coup and subsequently intervention by foreign troops – has exacerbated the impact of drought, closed off the main aid and trade route from the south, shut down weekly markets and most schools and left 1.4 million people dependent on food aid to survive.

Islamic Relief is urging international donors to increase support for the current UN appeal (which is less than a third funded), invest in peace-building projects in the north and put pressure on Mali’s Government to improve access for aid agencies and revive political reforms that were shelved 15 years ago.

“Some media coverage has suggested that the crisis caused by the insurgency in the north has been ‘fixed’ by foreign powers but from a humanitarian perspective we are increasingly concerned about the situation,” says Elias Fon, Islamic Relief’s Regional Coordinator for West Africa. “Food and clean water are in very short supply, and urgent action is needed to address these challenges.”

The report highlights numerous indicators of the severity of the current crisis:

  • Half a million people have been displaced, with 175,000 fleeing to neighbouring countries as refugees
  • 1.4 million people are reliant on food aid, with a further 2 million at risk of needing similar support
  • The north relies on the south for 80% of its food supply, yet the vital Mopti-Douentza-Gao road is closed to traffic
  • 65% of families surveyed by Islamic Relief say there is not enough food in the markets that remain open to meet their needs
  • Access to water is severely limited across the north, and the 6,000 people of Boni City are without any water points after their pumps and generators were pillaged
  • 58% of schools in the north are closed
  • 55% of families in conflict-ravaged Douentza City report that their predominantly earth houses are in poor condition


For more information about Islamic Relief’s work in Mali or to arrange an interview with Elias Fon, please contact Martin Cottingham (07702-940982, [email protected]).


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