Thousands of people have fled recent violence around Menaka. The displaced families were living in makeshift shelters built of plastic mats, fabrics, straws and pieces of wood. Photo: NRC

Displacement of civilians in Mali spikes due to armed conflict

NRC|Published 07. Sep 2018
Close to 50,000 people have fled their homes in northern and central Mali, so far this year, due to intercommunal clashes, a rise in armed groups and military operations. Humanitarian funding has failed to keep pace with the rising needs, leaving people stranded without necessary assistance, said the Norwegian Refugee Council.

The number of newly displaced represents a 60 percent increase compared to the same period last year, according to data from the Norwegian Refugee Council and its partners in Mali.

"Massive resources are being invested in ongoing military operations, while at the same time thousands of people forced from their homes are left with literally nothing to make ends meet," said Hassane Hamadou, NRC's Country Director in Mali.

About 5.2 million people require humanitarian assistance this year. The needs are higher than at any time since the beginning of the security crisis in 2012, according to OCHA.

So far, the United Nations aid appeal for Mali is only 32 per cent funded, while the number of people displaced continues to rise. Faced with the unexpected increase in people forced to flee in central and northern Mali, NRC has exhausted its funding for emergency responses, and will no longer be able to meet the new needs of those affected in Mali starting this month.

"There is nothing more distressing for us, humanitarian workers, than to see civilians suffer and not be able to intervene," Hamadou added.

Violence and military operations in Mali have aggravated the vulnerability of communities already suffering from poverty, food shortages and climate degradation.

"We didn't ask for this violence, we have nothing to do with it, and yet we are the first victims," said a woman displaced in Mopti. "I was forced to flee with my four children and hide in the bush for three days without food or water, before I could reach my parents who are hosting us."

NRC has provided humanitarian assistance to over 40,000 people in the most conflict-affected areas of Mopti, Timbuktu and Menaka so far this year, with funding from EU humanitarian aid, Norway and UNICEF, and with technical partners of the Rapid Response Mechanism.