World Vision pulls staff out of Mali, suspends programming indefinitely
World Vision: DAKAR, Senegal, 4 April 2012 — World Vision has temporarily suspended all programming in Mali and has asked staff to work from Dakar, Senegal for the time being, as the security and political situation continues to deteriorate in the landlocked West African state. All World Vision activities are halted in Mali indefinitely, including the response to the ongoing food and nutrition crisis in the country. World Vision’s National Director in Mali, Chance Briggs, said the relief organization hopes to resume relief work as soon as the security situation allows.
“Hundreds of thousands of Malian children are already at risk of severe acute malnutrition this year, and we are committed to assisting them the moment it is safe to do so. We hope to be back to work as soon as next week.”
Following a military coup nearly two weeks ago, instability has increased in the north of the country. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) recently imposed diplomatic and financial sanctions on Mali, which include closing of land borders to all but humanitarian imports, which ECOWAS says will remain in place until the current leadership hands power over to a civilian government. Without needed petroleum imports, massive fuel and power shortages are already making a major impact on the capital city, Bamako.
World Vision has been operating in Mali since 1975 and is currently active in 30 communities with more than 67,000 sponsored children. It is estimated that as many as 3.5 million people are food insecure in Mali and at least 320,000 children will require treatment for acute malnutrition in 2012. In addition, over 200,000 Malians are estimated to be displaced inside and outside the country because of the conflict in the north. World Vision declared a food emergency in the West Africa region in March 2012 and remains committed to providing emergency relief and assistance to those most in need.