Question: Are we considering any humanitarian assistance for Mali in light of the conflict in the north that has left thousands displaced?
Answer: The humanitarian crisis resulting from the conflict in northern Mali is a serious concern. There are more than 320,000 people who have been displaced, including some 130,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 190,000 refugees, as a result of the fighting in northern Mali, many of whom are now displaced to areas already suffering from the regional food insecurity crisis. Humanitarian access remains limited in northern Mali, and the international humanitarian community has called for immediate access to northern areas to deliver relief assistance.
The U.S. Government has provided $9.5 million to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross in support of assistance and protection to IDPs in Mali and refugees in Mauritania, Burkina Faso, and Niger, as well as additional support to the Mali Red Cross and to UNICEF in Mauritania to address humanitarian needs for displaced persons, and host communities.
While we continue to assess needs on the ground and determine additional support requirements, we are also keenly aware of the growing food insecurity crisis in the Sahel, where 8 million people currently face severe food insecurity and may require emergency food assistance this year. The U.S. has provided over $200 million to address acute malnutrition and food insecurity, build resilience, and support longer-term approaches to establish food security, as well as for immediate assistance for refugees and displaced populations.