Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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200,000 children at risk of starvation in Mali, warn UN agencies

Bamako, Sep 1 (Prensa Latina) A nexus of protracted armed conflict, internal displacement and limited humanitarian access threatens to plunge nearly one million children under the age of five into acute malnutrition by the end of this year – with at least 200,000 at risk of dying of hunger if life-saving aid fails to reach them, UN agencies said on Friday.

This warning comes at a time when almost a quarter of Mali’s population is experiencing moderate or acute food insecurity, with over 2,500 individuals on the brink of famine in the crisis-affected Menaka region, including many vulnerable children.

Senior humanitarian officials from UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Food Programme (WFP) visited the country this week to reaffirm their commitment to helping its people.

Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Humanitarian Action, highlighted the urgent need for support.

Approximately five million children in the West African landlocked country urgently require humanitarian assistance across various sectors, including health, nutrition, education, and protection, as well as access to safe water.

In addition to conflict and violence, climate shocks have forced massive displacement in recent months. As of the end of June, over 377,000 people have had to flee, more than half of them being children.

Conflict and lack of resources have also forced more than 1,700 schools to close, keeping at least half a million children from accessing education, and exposing them to further abuses.

With only four months remaining this year, only 21 per cent of the $751.4 million required by UN agencies for assistance programmes has been raised, while UNICEF’s Humanitarian Appeal for Children in Mali is less than a third funded. Despite the enormity of the crisis, humanitarian appeals for Mali remain severely underfunded.


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