Media Contact:Lauren Fisher
Bamamo, Mali (30 March, 2012) — The lives of hundreds of thousands of malnourished children and their families are at stake if the aid pipeline does not stay open, warns international aid agency World Vision. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has set a 72-hour deadline for power to be handed back to civilians in Mali, otherwise they’re threatening to close the county’s borders and freeze Mali’s account with the regional central bank.
The aid agency, working on the ground in Mali, says a suspension of bilateral assistance, and any obstruction of the provision or delivery of humanitarian assistance would push more people further into crisis.
World Vision's National Director in Mali, Chance Briggs said:
"It is absolutely essential that peace talks ensure a safe passage of aid to those fleeing fighting and already facing crippling food shortages in Mali. The threat of sanctions or military intervention must not punish ordinary people or jeopardize a much-needed relief effort.
"As everyone works towards a swift and sustainable solution to the political situation, the international community must not forget the children and their families in dire need of assistance. Close to 320,000 children are predicted to face acute malnutrition this year. World Vision is deeply concerned that this number could dramatically increase unless humanitarian aid continues to reach those at risk of crippling hunger and violence."
Conflict has made a chronic food crisis much worse, the agency said, with some 150,000 Malians displaced in the north of the country and in neighboring countries. Those forced to flee their homes are in need of food, shelter, clean water, healthcare and basic household items. Those crossing borders are taking refuge in communities already impoverished by the food crisis and bearing the burden of the refugee crisis.
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About World Vision:World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews