With violence intensifying in the north, the ICRC and the Mali Red Cross are carrying out a vast programme of food aid for half a million displaced people and residents in the Kidal, Gao, Timbuktu and Mopti areas.
"The humanitarian consequences of the armed violence in the north of the country, combined with difficult weather conditions, are hitting civilians hard," said Christophe Luedi, head of the ICRC delegation in Mali. "It's very hard for people to get enough to eat without outside help, or to earn what they need simply for their families to survive. If this situation persists, the result could be even greater dependence on humanitarian aid. The renewed outbreak of violence over the past few days can only exacerbate the situation."
At the very same time that livestock are suffering from a lack of water and grazing resources, several thousand people have been hard hit by the recent floods.
To help people meet their most urgent food needs and also regain some measure of self-reliance, the ICRC, working in cooperation with the Mali Red Cross and with the support of community leaders, continues to bring aid to the people hardest hit in the Mopti, Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal areas.
These activities are being carried out in coordination with the other humanitarian organizations in the area, and with the technical support of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries.
From January to August 2013, in cooperation with the Mali Red Cross, the ICRC:
distributed more than 18,000 tonnes of food (mainly rice, millet, semolina, beans, cooking oil and iodized salt) to some 525,000 people - displaced by the conflict, returnees and members of host families - in the Mopti, Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal areas;
brought emergency supplies (tarpaulins, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, sleeping mats, blankets, buckets, clothing, kitchen utensils and hygiene items) to more than 27,000 displaced people, returnees and victims of the recent floods;
distributed around 800 tonnes of rice and sorghum seed to more than 148,000 farmers in the Gao, Timbuktu and Mopti areas;
distributed seed to more than 15,000 people and provided them with training to boost vegetable production;
treated and vaccinated more than three million animals belonging to some 77,000 herding families (462,000 people in all) in the Gao, Timbuktu, Kidal and Mopti areas;
trained stockbreeders from 32 cooperatives in the Mopti, Timbuktu and Gao areas in grazing resource management;
distributed more than 500 tonnes of feed to almost 30,000 people living from both farming and livestock herding. The feed will be given to their animals during the lean period before the next harvest, when grazing resources are inadequate;
helped train 11 livestock workers from northern Mali in animal health at the Maradi school in Niger;
purchased 6,500 head of livestock, thereby enabling 21,000 stockbreeders to buy grain. The purchased animals were slaughtered and more than 200 tonnes of meat was distributed to the poorest households;
paid a total of 75 million CFA francs (over 155,000 US dollars) to more than 18,000 people in the Mopti, Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal areas taking part in a community work scheme aiming to enhance incomes in the neediest households.
In view of the continuing instability of the security situation in northern Mali, the ICRC and the Mali Red Cross will be maintaining their support for the communities most severely affected.