As conflict continues to escalate in northern Mali, Action Against Hunger has been forced to temporarily suspend its programmes in Gao and warns that clashes are causing a severe barrier to humanitarian aid, worsening the impact on vulnerable communities.
Action Against Hunger continues to operate in the regions of Kita, Koulikoro and Bamako, as violence has already displaced 380,000 people (150,000 refugees and 230,000 displaced people).
Director of Operations for Action Against Hunger, Vincent Stehli, says: "This new phase of the conflict is adding to the fragility of the population. We fear the worst is yet to come in the spring – the period in-between harvests where food reserves will be exhausted. For now, we have been forced to suspend our projects in the region of Gao, as the hospital where we were treating malnourished children is closed."
From Bamako, the Country Director for Action Against Hunger in Mali, Franck Vanetelle, says: “While the attention of the media and the international community is towards the centre and north of the country, in the midst of conflict, we also need to remember that what is happening is dramatically worsening the situation in the rest of the country, where communities were already extremely fragile and isolated to begin with. Blocking roads from the centre of Mali is threatening food supplies for other regions.”
"During the next few weeks we will focus on the flow of refugees and displaced persons. Our teams are already tracking population flows from north western Mali to Mauritania," says Helena Valencia, emergency team leader for Action Against Hunger.
Action Against Hunger is calling on all parties of the conflict to grant aid workers free and direct access to the most vulnerable populations.
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