Thousands of children in Mali at risk of malnutrition

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Mothers and their children wait in line at the nutrition center in Bamako, Mali. Credit: OCHA

Nearly 700,000 children in Mali are at risk of malnutrition according to the UN children's agency, UNICEF.

The agency says the situation for children is worse in northern Mali where schools and health care facilities have been looted and water supply is poor.

UNICEF says although access by humanitarian workers to urban areas of northern Mali was improving, there was considerable work to be done to restore basic social and protection services for children.

Marixie Mercado from UNICEF says the restoration of humanitarian services is also constrained by lack of adequate funding.

"There is an up side. One in five schools is now open. Parents, teachers, community members UNICEF spoke to were unanimous in their appeal for putting a priority on getting children back in school, and UNICEF is encouraging the return to classrooms with a massive supply of education material. A measles campaign in underway, with over 44,000 children reached in Gao so far. Across the north, we are resuming work with the technical staff of different ministries to support the resumption of services. In the south, we are building on work to scale up treatment to severe malnutrition that saw a doubling in the number of children provided with lifesaving treatment last year. But the crisis is far from over, access and security remain tenuous, the humanitarian needs are immense, and funding is a constraint."

UNICEF has appealed for $82 million to meet emergency needs in Mali during 2013 but has so far received only $20 million.

Patrick Maigua United Nations Radio Geneva.

Duration 1.31″

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