CARE calls for expansion of humanitarian access in northern Mali: Nearly 700,000 children at risk of malnutrition

Jan 17, 2013

OTTAWA — Amid the fighting and violence that has flared up in Mali during the past week, CARE Canada joins CARE International in calling on all actors to protect and expand the humanitarian space in the north of Mali so that aid organizations can deliver urgent emergency assistance. 

“The violent conflict in Mali prevents humanitarian organizations such as CARE from fully assessing the needs of vulnerable people or from reaching them with vital relief items,” says Claudine Mensah Awute, CARE Mali’s country director. “The people of northern Mali have been stretched beyond their limits by the past year’s food and political crises. We must act quickly to provide life-saving food, shelter, hygiene and health support.”

During the previous nine months, many Malian families have sought shelter with host families in the south of the country. With the new wave of violence, the number of displaced people has increased daily. Most of those fleeing are women and children.

With the support of the Canadian International Development Agency and generous Canadians, CARE Canada has been active on several projects in Mali. Our teams have been working to provide emergency assistance for drought and conflict-affected communities along with development work to improve nutrition and food security for children and pregnant and breastfeeding women.

“Combined, our emergency and development work have the potential to reach thousands of Malians who were hit hard by the recent drought and ongoing extreme poverty,” says Kevin McCort, CARE Canada president and CEO.

However, due to the current security issues in the country, some of these projects have been temporarily suspended.

The severe food crisis which struck the Sahel region last year and badly affected many families in Mali is far from over. Although the country has recorded improved rains this year, the violence has left many farms and fields deserted.

“Current projections estimate that 660,000 children under five in Mali will suffer from acute malnutrition this year. If the fighting continues and people are cut-off from humanitarian relief, a vicious cycle of hunger and violence will prevail,” says Awute. 

CARE is coordinating with local authorities, partner organizations and other international agencies to organize swift and efficient assistance to people in need. CARE Mali’s emergency team is prepared to distribute food and relief items, such as blankets, buckets, cooking utensils and soap with a focus on households headed by women. 

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Suzanne Charest
Director, Communications and Marketing, CARE Canada
Tel:  613-228-5641
Cel:  613-790-2134
media@care.ca

About CARE

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading international humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. In over 80 countries, CARE works with the poorest communities to improve basic health and education, enhance rural livelihoods and food security, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity, help vulnerable people adapt to climate change and provide lifesaving assistance during emergencies. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls living in poverty because, equipped with the proper resources, women and girls have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. To learn more, visit: www.care.ca.