Mali Humanitarian Crisis

The Crisis in Mali

1.5 million people people are at risk of food insecurity. And one in eight children is affected by malnutrition. 

Blogs From Mali

Visit our Notes From The Field blog for stories from CARE staff and refugees effected by the crisis in Mali.

496,000 children younger than 5 are at risk of malnutrition

You can help today by making a gift to support CARE's emergency relief efforts in Mali and poor and war-torn countries around the world.

Let's Not Forget Those Who Have Suffered the Most

What has been grabbing fewer or no headlines at all is the number of people who have been forced to flee their homes amidst the fighting ­– wives torn apart from their husbands, children from their parents, families from their communities. They have been forced to flee ... 

Nightmare in Mali

"It was total panic everywhere in the town of Diabaly and the population had only one choice: hide in their houses and pray to God."

Read "Nightmare in Mali," a first person account of the violence in Diabaly, Mali, as told to CARE.

Crisis Update



By the numbers:

  • 4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance 
  • 52,000 people displaced within Mali's borders
  • 141,000 refugees
  • 525,000 at risk of food insecurity
  • 496,000 children under 5 at risk of malnutrition

Millions remain in need of assistance with an early lean season approaching.

CARE has been helping drought, disaster and conflict-affected communities in Mali with food security and nutrition since the Sahel food crisis began in June 2012. Today, millions of people are still in need of humanitarian assistance.

To make matters worse, more than 52,000 people remain displaced from their homes – on the move because to drought, disaster and conflict. Today, many are trying to get by without adequate access to food, shelter, protection or basic services, such as education and healthcare.

The combined effects of armed conflict and the lasting impacts of the 2012 food crisis in the north of Mali, combined with poor recent harvests, have had a severe effect on populations, limiting access to food and livelihoods for the most vulnerable.

Children have been hit hard.

When the displacements began, there were reports that some children were traveling by themselves, while others were hiding in their homes without access to food, water or basic resources. Parents on the move pulled children out of school. With the savings from school fees, some were able to find shelter, but many were not as fortunate. So many children have been traumatized by conflict, suffered from malnutrition and fallen behind in their development and education. For them, food and a place to call home cannot come soon enough.

Women are suffering disproportionally, too. Women are the ones who are most often on the run, with their children in tow. In regions where fighting occurred, women reported cases of physical, psychological and sexual violence, as well as a lack of resources and services to which they can turn.

CARE is there.

Our emergency response operations in Mali have been ongoing since June 2012 in the regions of Mopti, Segou and Timbuktu, where we are reaching more than 500,000 people. CARE, in coordination with the United Nations World Food Program, has distributed nearly 30,000 tons of food to 300,000 beneficiaries in these three regions, paying special attention to children under 5 and lactating women. We’ve also distributed blankets, tarps, cooking pots and utensils; supported farmers and families with seeds and tools to grow food (and helped construct gardens); implemented cash-for-work programs to help people generate an income while benefiting whole communities by rehabilitating dams and roads and constructing water and sanitation facilities - and more.

Additionally, almost 500,000 displaced persons were able to return home since July 2013. During the lean period of 2016, CARE helped almost 120,000 people with food and aid, including over 15,000 children and 4,600 pregnant and nursing mothers. We disbursed $173,000 a month in food procurement, helping 1,035 new households achieve stability. In all of our target demographics, including boys and girls under 5 years aold, we surpassed our targets by thousands.

Floods are coming.

CARE anticipates almost 800,000 people will be affected by flooding in our areas of operations. We hope our intervention plans will help hundreds of thousands of these individuals, but we need your help.

Updated July 2017

How CARE works in emergencies


In 2011 alone, CARE reached 12 million people affected by natural disasters, conflict situations and other crises.


In emergencies, CARE is among the first to arrive and the last to leave. When it comes to responding to an emergency, timing is crucial.