The political crisis and ongoing conflict in Mali has compounded an already serious humanitarian situation, in which millions of people have been affected by drought, hunger and food insecurity across the Sahel region. The conflict has forced half a million Malians from their homes, with the latest fighting uprooting thousands more and bringing the total number of refugees in neighbouring countries to more than 160,000 people.
In 2012, the Government provided funding of €9.25 million for emergency food, water and health care to communities affected by the crisis across the Sahel region. This funding was channelled through UN agencies, the Red Cross movement and NGO partners. Some €1,100,000 of this funding is currently supporting Christian Aid, Oxfam and Trócaire to provide life-saving assistance to vulnerable communities in Mali, through emergency food aid, as well as water and sanitation services. A further €250,000 is helping our NGO partner Plan to provide essential water and sanitation services to Malian refugees who have fled the conflict to Burkina Faso.
The Government remains in regular contact with our humanitarian partners who are operating in Mali and the wider Sahel region. In close collaboration with the UN, the European Union and our NGO partners, we continue to monitor the humanitarian situation as well as the effectiveness of the contribution which we have made to date. We stand ready to provide further assistance to those affected by the conflict on the basis of the needs on the ground.