Urgent request for funding as donors desert Mali

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A Malian refugee woman in Mangaize, northern Niger, ponders her future. Credit: UNHCR/H.Caux 

People in West Africa's Sahel region are amongst the most vulnerable in the world, with crises in the region becoming more frequent and communities in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that a lack of funding from the international donor community is one of the reasons why aid isn't getting to the people who need it the most.

Robert Piper, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, says that Mali is in desperate need of assistance to secure the most basic of services, such as education, health, electricity and water, which are particularly lacking in the north of the country. He's appealing for donors to step up their aid.

"Mali is perhaps the worst funded humanitarian appeal in the region. It has the most acute humanitarian needs – in terms of suffering, in terms of malnutrition, in terms of food insecurity, in the northern parts of the country. It had the most successful donor conference on record in Brussels in May, when donors put a billion dollars more than had been requested on the table. And yet the appeal that we launched for Mali is barely 42 percent funded I believe, it's almost the worst in the region after Gambia. It's counter-intuitive but we're trying to figure out how to reverse that but Mali certainly remains a huge concern. Mali certainly remains a huge concern."

Robert Piper, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, on Mali.

I'm Jocelyne Sambira for UN Radio.

Duration: 1’35″

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