New report highlights critical climate and humanitarian crisis in Mali

  • Armed conflict and climate change are driving unprecedented levels of poverty, displacement and food insecurity in the Central Sahel, with a 172% increase in humanitarian need since 2016.
  • Political decisions dating from the French colonial rule through the early 2000s have marginalized areas of the region both economically and politically.
  • Addressing this compound crisis requires tackling immediate humanitarian needs and funding climate adaptation initiatives.
Read the full press release and report

Country facts

  • Total Population: 16.9 Million
  • People displaced by crisis: 270,000 people of concern
  • Rank in Human Development Index: 179 of 188

IRC response

  • Started work in Mali: 2012

Mali crisis briefing

Mali has experienced armed conflict and political instability in the north of the country, causing displacement and stretching already scarce resources in host communities in the south. The IRC is responding with emergency relief and working to strengthen health services and children’s education.

What caused the current crisis in Mali?

In 2012, armed conflict and political instability in the north sent hundreds of thousands of Malians to the country’s south, further exacerbating regional food shortages.

Over 520,000 have fled northern Mali in search of safe haven in other countries, and another 330,000 have been internally displaced. Mali’s crisis has led to the collapse of public services, especially health care and education in the north.

What are the main humanitarian challenges in Mali?

Although a peace accord was signed by parties to Mali’s conflict, the north remains extremely fragile due to in-fighting between separatist and jihadist groups.

Sporadic outbreaks of violence and the resulting population movements have prompted significant protection, economic and health concerns while reducing humanitarian access to troubled regions.

In addition, prolonged displacement of households inevitably decreases access to food, income and purchasing power.

How does the IRC help in Mali?

Since 2012, the IRC has provided lifesaving assistance to over half a million displaced Malians displaced by conflict and facing severe food shortages. The crisis in Mali has also led to a collapse of basic public services such as health care and education.

To help the country recover, the IRC is focusing our efforts in the Koulikoro, Kidal, Gao and Mopti regions by:

  • providing emergency relief;
  • supporting village savings and loan associations and income-generating activities, especially for women;
  • providing clean drinking water, water treatment kits, water-point rehabilitation, and health care supplies;
  • providing vital health care services and training community health workers;
  • providing children and parents with psychosocial support to help them heal from trauma;
  • training teachers and reopening schools for children affected by conflict.


What still needs to be done?

International donors must address the challenges people face accessing social services and meeting their basic needs amid a growing hunger crisis in Mali and across the Sahel.