BAMAKO AUGUST 28, 2015(CISA) – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is working to support displaced people and hungry school students in Mali despite ongoing violence while calling for more humanitarian aid to help stabilize the country.
“For Catholic Relief Services, this means that the lack of law and order in the North can cause humanitarian emergencies, and it creates a very difficult and dangerous environment for CRS and partners to implement programs,” Niek de Goeij CRS country representative in Mali, told CNA August 24.
According to de Goeij, CRS is doing what it can to meet the needs of the people on the ground, despite the challenges, while keeping its staff members safe.
With support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, CRS helps provide 80,000 daily lunches to students. The agency also helps provide essential household supplies and direct cash to those affected.
Mali has been unstable, but violence has increased recently. Over 235,000 people have been displaced from their homes, according to CRS. About 10,000 foreign United Nations soldiers are in the country to try to keep peace.
“The country faces many problems, not least the effort to re-establish a stable, inclusive and peaceful democracy across its territory. Hundreds of thousands of people remain displaced and hundreds of thousands more face acute food shortages each year,” de Goeij explained.
“With the right investments in the years to come, Mali could become a success story, but if not, there is a real risk of a further deterioration and destabilization of one of Africa’s largest countries,” he warned.