Since the beginning of 2012, Mali has been facing a complex humanitarian crisis. Firstly, the country has been particularly affected by the drought that hit the Sahel region in 2011, putting over 4.5 million Malians at risk of hunger in 2012. Mali faces chronic malnutrition, in 2012 alone 175, 000 cases of severe acute malnutrition amongst children under the age of 5 are expected. In addition to the food and nutrition crisis, in January 2012 armed conflict began in northern Mali and was quickly followed by a coup d’etat in the capital, which destabilised the entire country. The armed conflict triggered massive displacement. Within Mali, 174,000 people are estimated to be displaced, whilst 268, 775 Malians are registered refugees in neighbouring countries.
The International Rescue Committee began an emergency response in Mali in April 2012, with programmes targeting some of the neediest areas in both the north and south of the country. The IRC is providing much needed services including nutrition and health care, clean water and sanitation and the protection, education and development of children.