Emergency relief for the most vulnerable
Major flooding has hit Mali. Houses, farmland and food stores have all been destroyed by the vast amounts of water. Livestock have drowned, latrines and sources of fresh water have been flooded. Schools and cottage hospitals have also been filled with water. Many people have been forced to leave their homes. The floods came shortly after the country suffered severe drought.
Infection is spreading
In the wake of the floods, drinking water has been polluted and the number of disease-carrying mosquitos has increased. Malaria, diarrhoea, rashes, typhus and other diseases are spreading.
Aid saves lives
The situation in Mali has been tough for a long time. It became very serious in 2018 when the country suffered an intense drought. Diakonia has worked in Mali for many years and also has a presence in the neighbouring country of Burkina Faso – also hit hard by the drought. The assistance from Diakonia has made a huge difference.
“The humanitarian efforts have helped over a thousand households to survive the extreme drought,” says Mohamed Assaleh, programme manager for Diakonia in Mali.
From drought to flooding
After the drought, the weather turned and Mali was subjected to yet another disaster, this time in the form of severe floods.
Now Diakonia is launching a new initiative to save lives. In focus are those most vulnerable: single mothers, pregnant women and schoolchildren.
Children and pregnant women receive help
Pregnant and breastfeeding women get help to access work, such as through planting crops and simple animal husbandry. This improves their financial situation, provides food for the family and makes them less vulnerable in future natural disasters. Pregnant women and mothers of children under five will also get to participate in cooking courses, and will be given enriched maize flour to ensure their children survive.
Over 3,000 families will receive a food package. Due to the flooding and the ongoing conflict, it is dangerous for many people to get to their nearest food market. In order to reduce the risks for those without food, Diakonia and local partner organizations have made the decision to distribute food.
Schools are being cleaned up
Schools hit by the flooding will be given new latrines and new water supply systems. Food packages will also be given to students in need.
This humanitarian assistance has been established together with Diakonia’s partner organizations AFAD and AMSS.
Violence and conflict affecting civilians
Since the coup in 2012, safety across large parts of Mali is threatened. Violence and conflict have forced over four million people to flee. Over five million people live in areas considered to be unsafe. One million of them have no food. The aid initiatives from Diakonia in 2018 saved lives.
Throughout the Sahel region, where Mali and Burkina Faso are situated, it has rained significantly less than usual for several years. This has led to failed crops, increased food prices and general difficulty in obtaining food. Women and children were – as they are now – the most vulnerable.
The initiative was launched together with three local partner organizations, ATAD, AFAD and AMSS. Families in Mali and Burkina Faso received assistance in the form of money to buy food during the three months of the year in which they have the greatest difficulties supporting themselves: July, August and September.
Households in Burkina Faso have very low incomes, and about 100 children were identified among them who were at risk of malnutrition. These children received targeted nutritional assistance in the form of cereal milk. In Mali, children in the risk zone also received cereal milk, and amongst those who were supported by the initiative, illnesses linked to malnutrition have now decreased by a third.
Climate change affecting crops
Previously, many people in the Timbuktu region of Mali supported themselves by cultivating wheat and millet, but climate change has made this much more challenging. There is a lack of knowledge of how to adapt crops to the new conditions, which has led to poor harvests and difficulties finding feed for livestock
Diakonia in Mali
Diakonia has had a presence in Mali for many years. Our work includes increasing equality and counteracting violence and damaging customs impacting girls and women. We also implement urgent humanitarian initiatives to help particularly vulnerable children and families to survive. In 2018 the number of illnesses linked to malnutrition dropped considerably amongst children in the villages where we worked.
The humanitarian initiative begun in 2019 fights malnutrition and the spread of illness in the wake of the floods.