With the recent political instability engulfing Mali, the humanitarian situations is worsening as 320,000 displaced people are in need of aid.
Reports says nearly 320,000 Malians have been forced to flee to neighbouring countries or seek refuge in safer parts of Mali as a result of fighting that resumed in January in the country’s north between Government forces and Tuareg rebels, the proliferation of armed groups in that region, and a deepening crisis due to a coup d’etat in March.
Last week, 170,553 Malians found refuge in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger. While 148,467 men, women and children are displaced inside the country.
Today, the United Nations refugee agency is warning of a humanitarian catastrophe unless there is a massive scale-up in responding to the needs of hundreds of thousands of displaced.
According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the magnitude of the emergency, the number of displaced people has contributed to severe malnutrition that requires an urgent increase in the overall response to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.
UNHCR stressed that funding is urgently needed to improve conditions for displaced Malians.
Last month, the agency launched a revised appeal for $153.7 million to cover operations this year in Mali and the other three countries that are hosting refugees.
The agency stated that a general lack of funding for the Mali situation has hampered operations on the ground.
UNHCR added that while it is focusing on immediate life-saving activities, critical gaps exist in water and sanitation and basic aid in many refugee camps.
On April this year, with its relentless effort to restore constitutional order in conflict-hit Mali, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) continued mediation effort by signing an agreement with country’s military junta.
Reports say the Mali’s junta overthrew President Amadou Toumani Toure in a coup.
With the agreement signed by both parties, the military junta agreed to hand over power to the National Assembly president, in return for the lifting of sanctions imposed by ECOWAS and an amnesty of its members from prosecution.
In February this year, soldier mutineers launched a forcible seizure of power from the democratically-elected Government of Mali.
The Security Council called on the soldier mutineers to ensure the safety and security of all Malian officials and demands prompt release of those detained.
The mutineers announced the dissolution of the Government and seized control of the country.
On February this year, thousands of refugees fled to neighbouring countries to escape from recent outbreak of conflict in northern Mali.
UN reported that thousands of refugees have entered Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.
Burkina Faso authorities has reported that 8,000 people have entered that country so far, many of them women and children.
The outbreak of conflict in northern Mali was caused by clashes between Government forces and Tuareg rebels.
Tuareg rebels launched a new rebellion in the north on 17th of January. Since then, troops have clashed with rebels in several northern towns.
Tuareg nomads are present throughout the Sahel region of Africa. Both Mali and Niger have battled Tuareg uprisings in the last decade