UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
14 March 2012: the 2011-2012 growing season in Mali has been devastated by a lack of rain, leading to a drop in agricultural productivity and reduced grazing sources for livestock, threatening the livelihoods of millions of small farmers and agro-pastoralists.
The national early warning system indicates that roughly 3.5 million people have become vulnerable. The current food and nutrition crisis affects one out of five Malians, with a possible peak expected during the dry season between April and September 2012.
Global acute malnutrition rates among children aged 6-59 months have reached critical levels in numerous regions of the country, hovering between 12 and 15 per cent. Some 40,000 children are affected by severe acute malnutrition while some 150,000 children are affected by moderate malnutrition in the country.
In response, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated more than US$6 million to three United Nations agencies in Mali. The World Food Programme (WFP) received a grant of $2.6 million to provide food to 47,000 people affected by the crisis for 100 days. The most vulnerable people will be targeted with food assistance including: women heads of households; the elderly ; the disabled ; and farmers, fishermen and pastoral families living in poverty. Local community committees will play a key role in identifying the most vulnerable.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) received a grant of $800,000 to provide assistance to 6,000 households, or 42,000 people in the most affected regions. Funds will provide 3,000 farmer households with ruminants, livestock feed and veterinary kits to ensure healthy herds in the face of dwindling grazing areas. In addition, the most vulnerable 3,000 households will receive seeds, fertilizers and agricultural tools to improve household agricultural productivity, and poultry to boost the nutrition of famer families.
To address malnutrition, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) received a grant of $2.6 million to strengthen and scale up the prevention and treatment of malnourished children, launch complementary water and sanitation projects, and child protection activities. Nutrition projects will provide food aid to children aged 6 to 59 months in health facilities, and at the community and household level. Water and sanitation activities will provide safe drinking water to communities and ensure clean water is available in health centres. UNICEF activities will also help develop and strengthen gender-based violence prevention and child protection coordination mechanisms. More than 72,000 people will benefit from UNICEF CERF-supported activities in the country.