In Mali, more than half of the 7.1 million people requiring humanitarian assistance in 2024 are children.

An increasing number of internally displaced persons, mainly children, are fleeing insecurity and grave violations in northern and central Mali, as well as natural disasters and epidemics.

19 April 2024

BAMAKO, 19 April 2024 – An estimated 7.1 million people need humanitarian assistance in Mali this year, 54 per cent of them children, according to the 2024 Humanitarian Needs and Response Plan (HNRP).

These children are at risk of being deprived of essential services such as health care, education, clean water and appropriate protection services. Faced with new operational and programmatic challenges, UNICEF, in support of the Government of Mali, is strengthening its presence on the ground by focusing on the continuity of basic social services in fragile areas, while investing in national and local systems. UNICEF is appealing for US$133.5 million to respond to the humanitarian needs of children and women in Mali in 2024.

“Given the security issues in the world and the challenges facing the humanitarian sector, it seems imperative to intervene to provide assistance to the most vulnerable children. It is our collective responsibility to respond to this call for help and to support humanitarian efforts to provide vital assistance to those who need it most. This involves not only providing financial and material resources, but also working to prevent conflicts and build more resilient and inclusive societies," said Dr. Col. Diawara Assa Badiallo Touré, Minister of Health and Social Development.

"In Mali, more than 50% of people with humanitarian needs are children,” said Pierre Ngom, UNICEF Representative in Mali, updating humanitarian donors' group on UNICEF's 2024 humanitarian appeal in Mali. “Working with the government and communities to provide them with adequate education, health and protection services is the right thing to do, despite the difficult context. The time to act is now.”

Mali is facing conflicts and armed violence, characterized by attacks against civilians in the northern and central regions. In 2022, 1,024 serious violations against children were reported by the United Nations Secretary-General. The number of violent events in Mali recorded by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) continues to increase, rising from 1,267 in 2020 to 2,228 in 2023, a 76% increase over three years.

At least half a million school-aged children do not have access to education as more than 1,700 schools have been closed due to insecurity, mainly in the north and central Mali. This deprived more than half a million (522,000) children of access to learning and affected more than 10,000 (10,400) teachers, as of February 2024. The extensive learning losses could be irreversible without urgently delivering learning opportunities and alternatives. Missing school puts children at increased risk of being forced into negative coping mechanisms like child labour, early marriage, or other forms of exploitation.

Mali remains at very high risk of adverse impact of climate change, according to the Children’s Climate Risk Index. Climate change has made natural hazards more frequent, intense, and difficult to recover from. An estimated 3.2 million people, including 1.7 million children, lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities. The combined effects of conflict and the climate crises have led to a major humanitarian crisis that has disproportionately affected children in Mali.

Climate-related risks, persistent political and socio-economic crisis (exacerbated by inflation of the prices of some food products), epidemics, insecurity, and internal displacement concurrently affect the most vulnerable people.  Without assistance, 2.5 million children aged 0 to 59 months are at risk of suffering from acute malnutrition this year, and an estimated 268,000 children expected to face severe malnutrition.

The country faces a wide spectrum of epidemic outbreaks. In 2023, there were 352 reported cases of measles in 43% of health districts (32/75). Up to this point in the year, there have been 40 confirmed cases of measles, which is higher than the 26 cases reported during the same period last year.

The response to the humanitarian crisis in Mali remains largely underfunded, as demonstrated by the funding gaps for the Humanitarian Response Plan and the Humanitarian Action for Children in 2023 which were respectively 70% and 64%. “Flexible, pooled, and multi-year funding is one of the best ways to positively impact the lives of children, by facilitating a faster, more agile, and cost-effective response. It allows UNICEF to reach the most vulnerable communities in a timely and efficient way,” says Pierre Ngom.

To ensure adequate humanitarian response coordination and clear division of responsibilities at both national and decentralized levels, the cluster approach was introduced in 2005 within the wider context of humanitarian reform. UNICEF in Mali serves as Cluster Lead Agency (CLA) for three clusters: WASH, Nutrition, and Education (co-lead with Save the Children), and the sub cluster of Protection.


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