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Mali: Aid for refugees

Aid for refugees and returnees

Support and start-up help arrives in the north of Mali

Many displaced people have returned. 480,000 Malians on the run. © Grossmann
Many displaced people have returned. 480,000 Malians on the run. © Grossmann
Dirk Nibel, Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, in Mali. © Thomas Martinez
Dirk Nibel, Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, in Mali. © Thomas Martinez
Refugee family awaits the return to their home village in Timbuktu. © Grossmann
Refugee family awaits the return to their home village in Timbuktu. © Grossmann
Welthungerhilfe worker Ousmane Guindo visits a refugee family in Sevarae. © Martinez
Welthungerhilfe worker Ousmane Guindo visits a refugee family in Sevarae. © Martinez

Since the beginning of the unrest in Mali last year, more than 400,000 people are now fleeing the area. Their numbers are increasing every day. More than 50,000 refugees fled the fighting to Mauritania and Niger, 40,000 fled to Burkina Faso to save their lives. The neighbouring countries have now closed their borders.Most of the refugees are nomads trying to save their animals and hence their only means of subsistence. It also means that they are willing to incur considerable hardship to survive.

"Many of the refugees, most of them women and children, must walk more than 500 kilometres to reach safety", explains the Manager of the Welthungerhilfe office in Mali, Willi Kohlmus. Already weakened by the exertion, the refugees then face another fight for survival. They live in quickly erected shelter and lack the most basic supplies: Clean drinking water, but also blankets and cooking utensils, are in short supply. Support the people of Mali.

The current situation in Mali

Enormous harvest losses and extended drought periods during the last two years have lead to an extreme food crisis in the Sahel region. Basic foodstuffs such as millet, rice, peas and nuts are scarce. Many of the affected have been able to find refuge with relatives and guest families who also do not have much and are now sharing their last supplies. Due to the continued food crisis and prolonged drought period in the Sahel region, people have run of reserves.

The presumably safe South continues to face the threat of hunger, thirst and cold, as temperatures are starting to fall to five to ten degrees during the night. Most of the refugees are malnourished, additionally weakened by the long marches and particularly vulnerable to infections. Already now many women and children are suffering from malaria, diarrhoea and colds.

How Welthungerhilfe is helping the victims of the conflict

Facing an acute hunger crisis after years of extreme drought, the people in Mali are in urgent need of rapid and comprehensive aid. Therefore Welthungerhilfe will be sending out additional emergency personnel. Survival packages, consisting of e.g. blankets, dishes, hygiene articles and mosquito netting, will be distributed to more than 100,000 domestic refugees and their guest families. There are also plans to pay wages for unskilled labour to those who are affected, so they can buy food for their families.

Welthungerhilfe needs your help to provide the refugees and guest families with the most basic of supplies.