Mali is grappling with a severe food crisis, putting the lives of approximately 1.5 million children at imminent risk, the situation has reached alarming levels, with nearly 3.8 million people, including one million children, confronting food insecurity and severe malnutrition.
The crisis stems from a combination of factors, including climatic uncertainties, soaring food prices, mass population displacement, and armed conflicts.
Child Severe Malnutrition on the Rise
One of the gravest concerns in Mali is the surge in severe malnutrition among children. According to UNICEF, approximately 1.4 million children aged six to 59 months are grappling with severe malnutrition. This represents a 5% increase from the previous year (2022).
Severe malnutrition can have detrimental effects on children’s health and development, leading to growth delays, cognitive impairment, weakened immunity, and even death.
Regions Most Affected
The region of Ménaka stands out as one of the hardest-hit areas by the food and nutrition crisis, over 2,500 people, including a substantial number of children, are facing the looming threat of famine. In total, 11 out of Mali’s 19 administrative regions are grappling with the crisis. Other regions, such as Kayes, Mopti, and Bamako, are also experiencing nutritional challenges.
Various factors contribute to the food and nutrition crisis in Mali. Climatic uncertainties, particularly drought, negatively impact agriculture and food production. The exorbitant cost of food staples such as rice, maize, and milk is a significant factor amplifying the crisis.
Mass population displacement due to armed conflicts has further exacerbated the situation. Displaced individuals often struggle to access food and healthcare, intensifying the challenges faced by vulnerable populations.
Efforts to Address the Crisis
The Malian government has implemented several measures to enhance the nutritional situation in crisis-affected regions.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has also issued a plea for assistance to provide food and nutritional aid to millions of vulnerable people.
The food and nutrition crisis in Mali is a major humanitarian challenge, jeopardizing the lives of millions, including one million children. Urgent action is required to improve the situation and avert the severe consequences of widespread severe malnutrition.