On Wednesday, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund released 7 million U.S. dollars for people suffering insecurity in Mali’s north, a UN spokesman said.

“Humanitarian needs in Mali are dire, as the country faces a multidimensional crisis,” said Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “This year, humanitarians will need 868 million U.S. dollars to help 6.2 million people.”

Dujarric said that UN Undersecretary-General Martin Griffiths, the world body’s humanitarian relief coordinator, allocated life-saving assistance to support 423,000 people impacted by hostilities in the Gao, Kidal and Mopti regions, including internally displaced people, refugees and host communities.

“This new allocation will support projects for education and protection,” the spokesman said, adding that the areas of health, water and hygiene, shelter and psychological assistance will be covered.

Mali has been engulfed in security, political and economic crises since 2012. Independence insurgencies, jihadist incursions and inter-communal violence have left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands more displaced in the West African nation.

Only last month, the UN peacekeeping mission, known as MINUSMA, reported two peacekeepers were killed and four others injured in the northern town of Timbuktu.

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