In 2012, the humanitarian situation in Mali was initially characterized by the drought that affected Sahel countries in 2011. It left some 4.5 million people at risk of food insecurity and about 560,000 children under age 5 at risk of acute malnutrition. This situation was exacerbated by the conflict between the Malian army and National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) rebellion, and the subsequent occupation of the northern part of the country by armed groups. The conflict internally displaced 227,206 people (as of 31 December 2012) in Mali and about 144,400 people (as of 31 December 2012) in neighbouring countries, notably Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.
Insecurity in the northern part of the country and parts of the Mopti region generated humanitarian needs in education, health, access to water and protection for affected people in the conflict-affected areas. Displacements put a considerable burden on vulnerable host communities in the north and the rest of the country. Humanitarian actors estimated that about 5 million people needed humanitarian assistance in 2012.
Given the size and complexity of this multi-faceted crisis and its significant humanitarian impact, OCHA established a country office in Bamako in 2012. In support of the Humanitarian Coordinator, OCHA helped to set up the Humanitarian Country Team, the inter-cluster forum and the forum with NGOs. It also supported the roll-out of nine clusters (food security, nutrition, health, protection, education, WASH, logistics, NFIs and shelters, and emergency telecommunication). These groups meet regularly, and OCHA makes sure that recommendations and decisions are followed up.
OCHA facilitated the CAP Mali 2012 and the CAP Mali 2013 with the participation of the Government, NGOs, UN agencies and partners such as donors and the Red Cross Movement. The 2012 US$214 million appeal was launched in June 2012 and was funded at 70 per cent by December 2012. The $373 million CAP Mali 2013 was finalized in November 2012.
The inter-agency contingency plan was updated and finalized in October 2012. It includes sectoral response plans to address potential humanitarian needs caused by the crisis in the north. The contingency scenarios proposed by the HCT were used to develop the Regional Contingency Plan for Mali and contingency-plan scenarios for neighbouring countries that might face a possible influx of Malian refugees.
OCHA Mali produced a range of standardized information management and public information tools and products to support the humanitarian community. They include maps, contact lists, funding updates, situation reports, humanitarian bulletins, press releases and media monitoring reports. OCHA also launched the Humanitarian Response website, which is a platform for sharing information such as information management reports and assessment reports.
OCHA could not expand its presence in the centre and the north due to the insecurity in the northern regions and part of the Mopti region. Despite this challenge, OCHA gathered regular information about the prevailing humanitarian situation in these areas for advocacy purposes.
OCHA’s increased focus on Mali as a priority country was supported by visits from the Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Director of the OCHA Coordination and Response Division, both of whom helped increase humanitarian community advocacy efforts.
In 2012, OCHA Mali was 92 per cent funded ($2,530,428 was requested and $2,328,741 was allocated). This level of funding allowed the office to undertake significant coordination, advocacy and information management work to support the humanitarian community, despite the lack of access in conflict-affected areas.